Saturday, January 28, 2006
my blog's birthday
the quote is from isaac asimov:
i love it. it resonates completely with my life experience, and in particular with the experience of writing this blog.
The true delight is in the finding out rather than in the knowing.
when i set out to start a blog my purpose was solely to promote my coaching practice. i figured i'd enjoy the writing, but mostly i wanted to get my ideas out into the world in the hopes of connecting with people who would be interested in using my coaching services to help them find and follow their dreams.
as it turned out i've fallen (back) in love with writing. i've started to call myself a writer for the first time and i'm finding that there are far more ways to offer coaching to the world than in a one on one session. it's been a tremendous experience of unfolding and the delight truly has come from the finding out.
this blog has given me a space both to coach and to be coached. following my own advice and the advice of my brilliant blogging pals has moved my life forward on many fronts.
building community in the blogosphere has allowed me to come in contact with so many amazing, interesting and generous people. finding out about them has also been a true delight.
i am looking forward to another year of becoming, of unfolding of finding out and taking delight!
thank you to all of you who read my blog, who comment, and to all of my fellow bloggers...here's to another great year!
Monday, January 23, 2006
deciding not to feel bad
so much in our culture is sold to us based on making us feel as though we are "lacking" - the right clothes, the cute haircut, the high paying job, etc. and it's not as though advertisers are the only people thinking within this paradigm.
life is challenging, always has been, and humans have long wanted to do better than they have been able to figure out and thus have felt bad. that feeling bad gets passed on from one generation to the next and well you can see how we become so saturated with it that soon we aren't really even aware of when we are feeling bad about ourselves (which if the chatterbox in my brain is any guide is a lot of the time).
so what to do about it? how to turn a generations old pattern of approaching life on its head? what i'm discovering is that its about deciding and then setting up a plan to act on that decision.
for instance, one of the places that i find i am often feeling bad about myself is in my relationship with my partner. we get in a fight say he says something cruel - i feel bad. we get in a fight i say something cruel - i feel bad. i plan to spend an evening with him, something comes up and i can't, i feel i've disappointed him - i feel bad. you get the picture.
so, my current goal is to decide not to feel bad and then to act on that decision in my relationship. because the real deal is that while i might sometimes owe my partner an apology or he might owe me one - beating up on myself for what a jerk i am, doesn't really help the situation. in fact it often leads to a nasty spiral of more fighting and more feeling bad.
so when it comes up, i do my best to notice the feelings..."oh i'm feeling bad again" and then decide to ignore them. "right, now is the time to put my attention on handling the situation rather than beating myself up for it." i've also made a plan to call a friend or write in my journal when these feelings come up - to get the feelings out of my system rather than pretending they aren't there.
what parts of your life do you find you are always feeling bad about?
how could you set things up to decide not to feel bad and then act on that decision?
as always i'd love to hear your thoughts and what you are figuring out!
Saturday, January 14, 2006
being our best selves
of course in our celebrity culture, many of us feel this way. as though we have to achieve a serious amount of greatness and cultural recognition to feel we've found success.
the problem with approaching life from this perspective is really not about the desire to be wildly successful - it's about the feelings of insignificance that can plague you until you get there. reaching great heights of success and having a big impact is not a bad thing, but beating up on ourselves every step of the way is.
in the past six months, i've started to step away from this expectation of grand success. started to let myself off the hook and just live. being pleased with the impact i have now rather than always looking to the future, hoping for more. it's yielded good things, i like my life more, i feel like i'm living in the present more and enjoying it.
thus i liked the perspective i found on being our best selves and having a big impact in danusha veronica goska's article political paralysis in paul rogat loeb's book the impossible will take a little while: a citizen's guide to hope in a time of fear.
Sometimes we convince ourselves that the "unnoticed" gestures of "insignificant" people mean nothing. It's not enough to be our best selves; we have to be Ghandi. And yet when we study the biographies of our heroes, we learn that they spent years in preparation doing tiny, decent things before one historical moment propelled them to center stage. Moments, as if animate, use the prepared to tilt empires.her perspective that everything we are doing in our lives today is significant and is preparation for the potential of bigger things is powerful. it allows us to go about our daily lives pleased and proud of our ability to touch others, to make our individual difference, and be our best selves while also knowing that these acts prepare us for a possibility of something larger.
do you recognize yourself for the impact you have in your world?
does your definition of success allow you to see the significance of your life today?
as always i'd love to hear your thoughts, post 'em here!
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
"not all who wander are lost."
i just found out recently that this is a j.r.r. tolkien quote - i'm not surprised and it adds a new layer of fantastic possibility to it for me.
my partner is a big fan of the quote and thus it always make me think of him. in particular it makes me think of his approach to life, which is so very different from my own. unlike me, people would not be likely to call him driven, he's not a type a personality, and he doesn't spend a lot of time constructing his plans for the future. in spite of this he has a great life. and over the five years i've known him he has moved slowly but surely towards his goals and dreams.
the quote has always resonated for him. but it wasn't until recently that it began to resonate for me.
a couple of weeks ago i was interviewed for a book, in the email exchange i had with the author in preparation she asked me to sum up what i do. zoinks i thought. i hate that question and i have no idea how to answer it. so i listed out in my head the three or four main things i dedicate my time and energy to...and suddenly it occurred to me, these things which i had continually thought of as some disconnected jumble, the random interests of a wandering woman, had become a recognizable whole.
what i do is coach, mentor, support and advocate for people in their teens and twenties to live big lives, follow their dreams and realize how capable and amazing they are. yup, all of my life does that - from my role as president of the alumni board of a student activist organization to my day job at an organization that does street outreach to homeless youth.
wow. apparently my wandering has not meant that i was lost.
it's been a very interesting and eye-opening discovery that this last couple years of trying things out, opening doors, meeting new people, and aiming to live the questions has in fact led me somewhere.
what's your take on the "not all who wander are lost" concept?
do you consider yourself a wanderer? do you feel lost? have you done any checking in lately to see if those assumptions are correct? or if they mean what you thought they did?
i'm not saying that all wandering is meaningful, as the quote says "not all who wander are lost."
but i think we tend to be harder on ourselves than we are on other people. my wandering partner has always seemed smart and capable to me, whereas i've felt like an uncertain fool. turns out i too was wandering in the right direction and have ended up no where near lost.
what might happen if you saw wandering as something to be proud of? as a sign that you are letting life unfold and following your heart?
as always i'd love to hear your thoughts...post 'em here!
Friday, January 06, 2006
i heart my job
as he states in his post about how to order the pins, he loves his job and loves the idea of people wearing these pins and sparking interesting and meaningful conversations. i'm planning to order a pin and see how the experiment unfolds...if you love your job you might also consider doing the same. scott is asking folks who order a pin to write to him with stories of what happens when people notice the pin and get to talking.
scott's post also made me think of what i'd put on a pin to start conversation? 'got dreams?' was the first one that popped into my mind.
what might you put on a pin? what are the questions and conversations that you want to spark?
as always post your thoughts here. and thanks to curt rosengren for the link to scott's site.
Sunday, January 01, 2006
gifts for the new year
deciding to do something, just simply deciding, is a powerful act. i have a list of goals hanging on my wall in my bedroom which has been there now for over two years. when i wrote that list around this time of year a couple years back the things on it seemed like distant dreams. now, two years later, each and every one of them is taking shape in my life. and almost all of them in ways i never could have imagined or planned as i wrote that list.
this year, as i began thinking about new year's resolutions the thought occured to me that i could think of my resolutions as the gifts i want to give myself in the new year. after all, that is what they should be right?
what would it mean for you to adopt this perspective as you set your resolutions? the first thing that i decided after adopting this perspective was that this meant realistic resolutions were the only ones making the list. setting unattainable goals for myself would be less about gift giving and more about energy draining.
secondly, i noticed that when considering my list of resolutions through this lens, saying yes to things would also be accompanied by saying no. creating a list of things i wanted to do would mean i would need a list of things i would be saying no to - because saying yes to everything is a recipe for overwhelm and frustration.
allowing the perspective of giving myself gifts in the new year inform my resolutions led to a short, sweet, simple list this year. one that feels like a guide towards greater joy more than a list of things to do. i'm excited to get started on making these resolutions real.
what gifts do you want to give yourself in the new year?
what do you want to say yes to? what do you want to say no to?
as always, i'd love to hear your thoughts feel free to post 'em here!