Removing the Winter Cobwebs
Time to Shed the Layers
Yes, it’s time for Part One of spring cleaning. Are you ready? Let’s start by identifying ways you remain stuck – so you can ultimately let go of what holds you back. “All” it takes is willingness plus openness to get rid of anything (people, viewpoints, things or situations) misaligned with the direction you now choose to chart your life.
Comfortable Versus Comfort Zone
First things first – we should distinguish the critical difference between being comfortable versus being stuck inside a comfort zone. When we’re comfortable, the values, perspectives and practices that comprise our daily routine generally serve our aims. They support our dreams, resulting in a level of ease inside our own skin.
On the other hand, once life gets to feeling a little too cozy or familiar, you’ve likely slipped into a comfort zone (often unbeknownst to you). What was once a productive mindset becomes a self-created jail. Imprisoned, your comfort zone renders you lazy. You justify it’s better to play it safe than to step out toward the great unknown. You’re trapped into what some call your default setting – the threshold to which you endlessly return that constricts what’s possible for you.
As Dr. Joe Vitale confirms in Expect Miracles, the problem is that our unconscious boundaries act as protective walls around us. They cap what we can accomplish and sabotage our attempts to reach beyond this artificial imposed ceiling. Two of the strongest self-limiting beliefs you will combat are fear of failure (understandable) and fear of success (surprising). You become afraid to stride past your barriers, even if you say you want to. As a result, you relinquish any progress you do make and risk to never see your goals materialize.
The Top Ten List
The good news is, you possess full power to create the momentum it takes to lift up from your comfort zone. Anyone who has studied physics knows it takes more energy to set an object into motion than it does to keep it moving. If you can generate enough “steam”, you’ll stay on a roll. Then, it’s a matter of deliberate practice where even a step a day will move you forward faster than you can imagine.
To help you remain consistent and persistent in your commitment to get on with your life, here’s some food for thought:
1) In what ways is your life a comfort zone (and not merely comfortable)?
2) How can you tell you’ve crossed the line from comfortable to comfort zone?
3) What are some ways you imprison yourself?
4) What factors cause you to turn your life into a jail-like comfort zone?
5) Then, why do you continue to limit yourself from venturing forth?
6) Do you limit yourself more out of fear of success or fear of failure? Expand your answer for yourself.
7) What is staying stuck costing you?
8) How is staying safe benefitting you (because it is)?
9) To step out of your comfort zone, what inner qualities do you need to strengthen?
10) On a scale of 1 to 10, how ready are you to let go of what’s not working in your life? If your answer is anything less than an 8, what’s required to bump it up?
Remember – comfort unto itself is not a bad thing. Once you’ve slid into a too-comfortable zone, though, it’s time to step out. Along with continuing to reflect on how you can tell the difference between these two ends of the spectrum for yourself, I offer a short extract from a longer poem entitled “Letting Go” (authorship unknown) to encourage you to keep releasing.
|To “let go” is not to adjust everything to my desiresBut to take each day as it comes, and cherish myself in itTo “let go” is not to criticize and regulate anybodyBut to try to become what I dream I can be
To “let go” is to not regret the past
But to grow and live for the future
Continuing the Spring Renewal
If you were to tell me you’re having some challenges letting go, I’d understand. For, in all honesty, I don’t enjoy practicing new behaviours – at first. Several reasons account for this resistance. One ties to how adults learn.
In my field of training and development – along one axis of a four-part grid – we’re either “Competent” or “Incompetent” in terms of skills, abilities and knowledge. The other axis refers to being either “Conscious” or “Unconscious”. We’re Consciously Competent when aware of what we do well (and why) and Unconsciously Competent when we don’t realize these things. Competence is comfortable.
Yet, when it comes time to step out of old zones, you need to move from Competent to Incompetent. As feelings of frustration arise over how difficult new behaviours are, you wonder, “Can I pull this off?” Then doubt kicks into overdrive and you start thinking, “What if I mess up?” Ah, the unsettling pangs of what if, what if, what if…
Ready to take the plunge, you must not lose faith in yourself. For when you do, you open the door to a downward spiral. If you constantly give in and give up, you’ll never conquer your demons. Remember what we said some time ago about the Gremlin? Doubt is one of its most common manifestations. It mustn’t be paid heed.
If anything, doubtful feelings are a good sign you’re attempting to stretch. Slowly, you will turn from Conscious Incompetent to Conscious Competent and return to Unconscious Competent. This is when you’re no longer even aware you’ve crossed the line. You know how to step out but don’t even realize what’s contributing to your success. Walking away from comfort zones has become a ‘natural’ behaviour.
And, the more you exercise these “muscles”, the more wins you’ll have. Then, you can use those breakthroughs to give “oomph” to more risks. In the end, you just have to do it. While I intensely dislike this phrase, it makes a lot of sense when stepping out of stale energies in the form of people or situations.
The Top Ten List
As Oprah’s “What I Know For Sure” (March 2009) encourages, allow the new life of spring to awaken in you. And, whatever your challenge let it be an open door to your most significant revelations about yourself – an invitation to your best life. To both entice you to step into a world of possibilities and to clear out what no longer serves, here are this month’s reflective inquiry questions mixed with some tangible action items for those of you who like “practical assignments”:
1) What options have you been cutting off by staying stuck?
2) What are you ready to do to overcome fears about forging into unfamiliar territory so as to increase the number of new possibilities you allow yourself?
3) How can you shift those places in your life where you’re Consciously Incompetent?
4) In what areas are you Consciously Competent? How can you strengthen these?
5) How can you keep at your efforts even if you fail at first? Said another way, what can you do to ensure you don’t lose faith as you take the plunge?
6) What critical factors contribute to your best learning? What strategies can you use from successful situations so you’re not stopped by self-questioning?
7) Recycle by going through old magazines, books or catalogues and getting rid of them. Bring the magazines to a doctor’s office, hair salon or health club. Donate books to your local library or place of worship for an upcoming sale.
8) Trade your treasures by hosting a “give-away” party where attendees bring clothes, jewelry, household items, etc. to swap with one another. Each person should find a treasure in others’ lots and it could make for a fun social to boot!
9) Donate by going through your old clothes or household items with an eye for sharing the wealth with those in need. Your old suits or dresses could give someone a new outfit for a job interview.
10) Recycle by going through your office files and contact list – letting go of outdated resources, emails, information or old ideas. Make space for great opportunities or more creative ideas that make sense for who you are now.
For your Action Exercise, let’s see what happens if you commit over the next 30 days to “doing the opposite”. This means, in every area of your life, do the opposite of your typical actions and emotions. If you’re apt to get angry in any given situation, stay calm. If you’re frustrated by certain people, see them in their essence and stay unfrazzled. Remain open, looking for as many instances as you can to practice these new behaviours. At month’s end, check in and ask yourself what it felt like to do the opposite. Where was it easy to do this exercise and where was it hard? Are there any ways-of-being you would like to maintain, going forward?
To return to Cherie Carter-Scott, I hope this quote will leave you intrigued until we next meet: “Ordinary people believe only in the possible. Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible or probable, but rather what is impossible. And by visualizing the impossible, they begin to see it as possible.”
Inner Facial, Anyone?
Outward Facial Benefits
By no means an esthetics expert, I learned in perusing some free flyers that a professional facial promotes complexion clarity and noticeably glowing skin. A proper treatment offers the additional benefits of deep cleansing, increased circulation and stimulated skin. Thus, it can help slow premature aging by custom-targeting your skin care.
Fatigued by my life of details (a term borrowed from the movie, “The Bridges of Madison County”, for those who’ve seen it), I can attest to all these outcomes – and more – as a result of recently investing part of an afternoon within a spa-oasis. Ahhh……..
Inner Cleansing Benefits
You know how strongly I advocate for extreme self-care – or making regular time for our renewal. My facial plus massage (OK, I admit it!) certainly fit one half of the bill. Even more powerful than outer beautification, in my mind though, are the results of devoting time to our inner “cleansing”.
This brings us to a term I coined around 1999, if you can imagine. Have you ever wondered what a Spiritual Beauty Consultant ™ does? It means: “A guide (consultant) who helps you make everyday life beautiful (beauty) by nurturing your inner core (spiritual).” It’s about reclaiming and integrating your True Self (Who You Really Are) into your broader mission on Earth.
- The word, spirit, derives from the Latin spirare, to breathe. Our breath literally animates us. As we stay connected to our essence, we weave a sense of purpose into the very fabric of daily life.
- Beauty is about finding joy, wonder and enthusiasm in the so-called “small things”. In noticing the beauty of every day, we transform ordinary events into extraordinary occurrences.
- Consultancy involves creating an environment that emboldens people to reach their dreams and live their passions. (This mindset is reflective of how I work with my coaching clients to strengthen them in generating and implementing personalized solutions to their challenges.)
If you think about it, nothing prevents you from adopting the (inner) S.B.C. attitude of finding the beauty in everyday life!
I’m sure we’ve all been exposed to the idea that our external appearance absolutely mirrors what transpires within our interiors. We likely know individuals who are chronologically “old” but outwardly young. On the other hand, we may conjure up folks who haven’t lived long, but whose demeanour resembles that of an elderly person.
The Top Ten List
For these reasons, this article’s Top 10 List is focused upon a set of reflective coaching questions designed to promote inner beautification that cannot help but show in your external world:
1) When was the last time you treated yourself to nurturing (a spa facial, massage or other pampering treatment)? [This one is about your openness to granting time singularly to your well-being – back to extreme self-care.]
2) What (healthy) practices do you choose to engage in to achieve “noticeably glowing skin” [and I don’t necessarily mean eating right or exercising]?
3) How often do you think nourishing thoughts?
4) What kind of mental “cleansing” is required to rid yourself of anything that prevents you from standing in your True Self?
5) To what extent do you see and/or look for the beauty in every day?
6) What kind of “exfoliation” (removal of that which clogs pores) is required in terms of negative people or situations in your life?
7) What under-the-surface emotions or feelings would you say your face (or perhaps body language) is expressing?
8) Do you listen when your body speaks? What’s your physicality trying to tell you?
9) What’ stopping you from engaging in a pleasurable pursuit or activity you’ve been meaning to try?
10) Is it time to start or resume working with professional resources to help you take better care of your outer and/or inner “appearance”?
I kid you not! Amongst those mailbox brochures, one catalogue advertised a Self-Esteem Neck Firming Lift. Now I had heard everything…Self-Esteem in a bottle! May I suggest that beauty created “from the inside out” is likely more lasting than a topically-applied agent whose life-span is on the order of hours?
Remember these anonymous words: “A young girl asks a wise old woman, ‘How does one become a butterfly?’ With a twinkle in her eye, the old woman replies, ‘You must be willing to give up being a caterpillar.’”
Clearing the Clutter
The Costs of Clutter
Whether at work or home, I’m sure each of us has experienced difficult concentration in a cluttered space. Doesn’t all that mess practically demand attention? With its constant “call”, accumulated (negative) energy places you at great risk of failing to get any productive work done. But that’s not the end of the story.
Yes, your clutter affects you big-time. Do you realize it can keep you stuck in the past? It’s a big contributor to feeling lethargic, confused – and just plain dulled in your senses. At its worst, overwhelming mass mounts up to such a degree that the weight ultimately crushes you and leads to physical illness.
A very steep price to pay, isn’t it?
So, What’s It About?
In the past – distant or otherwise – you may have purchased those now-weary items to help you feel better in some way. They hopefully enhanced your joy at least for a while. No psychologist or Feng Shui expert, what I can say today is their usefulness and positivity long ago wore out their welcome. Didn’t they?
What happened, to turn the tables? How does clutter now “kill” your body, mind and spirit? The thing is, many become so consumed dealing with their “toys” and objects that the obsession robs precious time from self-care. Our unavailability to self-nurturing leads to slow and then escalating compromise of physical and emotional health.
What a sure-fire recipe for putting your life on hold. Oh my!
Consider this: If your unconscious can maneuver your light-filled Real Self into running around totally scatter-brained, you’ll never move forward with cherished hopes and dreams. That’s what makes clutter such a dark and insidious way of keeping you stuck.
At its worst, clutter causes you to self-sabotage in the extreme so you actually prevent the arrival of all those good things you say you yearn for. In effect, you block your own “flow” of health, wealth and happiness. Wow.
The Top Ten List
Naturally, this destructive process is largely sub-conscious. The shadowy under-currents lurking beneath disorganization don’t want you to have this information. I do!
To shed light on “what’s in it for you” to lastingly purge your every bit of clutter please allow your inner core to receive these “benefit statements”:
1) Obtain clarity to decide what you want in all arenas – work, home, health, finances, relationships, fun and recreation, growth and development.
2) Get mobilized to become unstuck.
3) Boost your concentration power.
4) Accomplish more because you’re focused on goals and priorities.
5) Eliminate all distracting factors to going after your dreams.
6) Remove barriers that block what you truly desire.
7) Release new vitality by freeing up stale energy.
8) Reignite your inner “fire” and commitment to your best life.
9) Create space for the arrival of new people, experiences and opportunities by removing reminders of negative past memories embedded within the objects themselves (every single thing surrounding us is “energy” – good or bad).
10) Reclaim your confidence and self-esteem (as you get back on top of every part of your life).
On a more humorous note, sadly-departed George Carlin had it so right in his famous comedy sketch. Its essence was that we need to get ever-larger homes and storage facilities for the sole reason to house all our “stuff” (not to give us more space in which to live). While in jest, Carlin got at the heart of what we’ve been talking about.
On a reflective note, you’ll never guess who said these words: “It is an act of courage to throw away clothes we no longer need.” Believe it or not, that was Fritjof Nansen, Norwegian explorer and statesman. I agree with Mr. Nansen. It does take a leap of faith to let go of all those “things” that no longer serve and merely inundate us.
So, if I were a fly on the wall in your workspace and home after you put down this article, how soon will I see evidence of your clearing efforts?
I think I feel it now…the cleansing breath of fresh air you allowed to bring all that new energy your way!