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Patterns, patterns everywhere

Lately, I’ve been kind of gob-smacked by how many people are showing up on my proverbial doorstep saying “I’m fed up with the pattern I keep reliving…it’s Groundhog Day all over again. It’s painful and damned stupid. I KNOW better, I keep trying to break it, but I keep getting sucked in, and it feels bloody disempowering” (or thereabouts). They in turn, are gob-smacked when I metaphorically seize them by the shoulders, shout “HUZZAH!!!!!” and have them join me in a high-kicking folk dance. I celebrate patterns. Here’s why: unlike pattern’s kissing cousin “stuck”, there IS a neat and tidy formula to the pattern. Now IF someone truly desires to step out of that pattern (and that “if” deserves capitals, because not everyone really wants to leave the safety of a pattern) it’s about as easy as 1-2-3 (or 1-2-3-4-5-6-7, depending on what it is). Here’s how. Write out the pattern Make it goooood, robust and juicy. Make it yours. Own it. You keep reliving it so you MUST know the steps like the back of your hand, non? Like, you could teach a course on “how to fall out of love (with a person, idea, project)” or “how to be late for every single important event”, or  “botching sensible weight loss plans” or “racking up debt”. In fact, assume you ARE teaching on course on your pattern. You are the world’s leading expert on it, after all. Here’s an example. Say you’re a blogger. And say you don’t write as often as you’d like. Your pattern MAY be: You get an inspired idea. A fabulous, wonderful idea. You’re a little breathless, it’s just that good. You sit down to write. But before you put fingers to keyboard, you decide to research who else has written about your topic, juuuuust in case. You read and read. You make notes on what others are saying about your topic. You start getting a touch grumpy as you begin to believe you don’t know anything about this stuff after all. You start to try write in your voice. It’s feeling stilted because the wind’s out of your sails. Then your saboteur voices take over: “no one’s going to read YOUR take on this topic when they can listen to THEIR take on the topic”, and “everyone’s going to know you’re a fake”. You back away from the computer and put your attention...

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Inspirational Women’s Day

Of the many, MANY things I am grateful for in my life, having an abundance of inspiring women around me rates pretty high. Their gifts fill my heart, soul and mind.  {Allow me to state this: I am blessed to be surrounded by many men I adore and whom inspire…howevs, it IS International Women’s Day, so, I’m sticking with my sisters.} Inspiration  = in + spirare (latin for breath). And it is sooooo important to breathe, isn’t it? When I am a quart low of inspiration, these are the women I turn to. You see, I believe that inspiration is all around us. It taps you on the shoulder all the time – you just may choose to ignore it. Stated more prettily: Inspiration is very polite. She knocks softly and then goes away if we don’t answer. –  Mary Pipher So I am pretty intentional about going out and huffing it in when I need it, like a sleep-deprived travelling salesman at an oxygen bar. I fill up my lungs with the good stuff. Some of my sources of inspiration, you’ll not meet on-line. And how they inspire me may not be of interest to anyone else. Like my Mom for teaching me that living joyfully is really the only sensible way (more on her teachings in The Joy Pages, over on the right hand side of this site), or my sister for showing me the grace in contentment.  Or my beloved clients for the bravery they show in their desire to step boldly into their best selves. Or my Mother-in-Law for epitomizing commitment. Or my Aunt for being a beacon of strength. Or my close friends for the meaning of unconditional love. Or my daughter for the reminder to slow down even as she grows at a breakneck speed. Apart from my Future Self, here are my sources of inspiration that you CAN find on-line: When I need to explore wholeheartedness, I breathe in Brené Brown. When I need courage, I breathe in Lisa Chandler. When I need to some wide-eyed wonder, I breathe in Teresa Deak. When I need a shot of whip-smart sassiness, I breathe in Kelly Diels. When I need a model of “no” AND of generosity, I breathe in Danielle LaPorte. When I need to find soul-nourishing beauty, I breathe in Jamie Ridler. When I need to know resilience and “never-too-latedness”, I breathe in Debra...

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Fitting in

It’s starting to happen. Approaching seven years old, my daughter’s becoming preoccupied with what others think of her. And what they think is starting to inform her choices. She no longer chooses to wear her cute and kicky hats indoors. No one else wears them, after all. That pre-historic amygdala at the base of her brain is starting to run the show. It tells her, in its lizard-y rasp: “Keep your head down, kid. Take your hat off. Fit in. Play with those girls even if they’re mean because they’re cool. Put down the salmon and pick up the cheese pizza (I mean, seriously…what’s WRONG with you? All kids like cheese pizza and French fries). Pretend you’re crushing on Justin. All girls your age like him. Above all else, fit in. For the love of God, Child. FIT. IN.” Excruciatingly painful to watch. Because all I want, as her Mama, is for her to recognize and love herself as her own person. As she is. For her to not need/want to be “less than”, “more than” or anything “other than” the wonder that she is. Naturally. And if I’m being honest, I want the world to appreciate her for all that she is…without insisting that she fit in. I wish the same, of course, for myself. I have made countless choices in my own life that have been informed by my own lizard brain:  I have used a voice that wasn’t my own; shared opinions that weren’t my own; exhibited styles that weren’t my own; and professed love that wasn’t my own. Every one of these choices has led me down a path of discontent, all in the name of fitting in. Fitting in with whom, I am not sure. With the cool kids, I guess. Fitting in to what end, I am less sure. So no one will see me for the magnificence that I am? Meh, that doesn’t sound like me. Besides, we’re all cool kids in someone else’s eyes. Here’s what I’m learning: I think that fundamentally we don’t want to fit in. I think fundamentally we want to be appreciated for who we are. In fact, I suspect that is our deepest desire. Try this on for size and see how IT fits: “I’m different. And I like it.” No screaming hand-waving LOOK-AT-ME-AND-HOW-CRAZY-OUT-THERE-DIFFERENT-I-AM. Just different. Naturally so. A final thought. Next time you feel pulled...

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Seth Godin went and took the words out of my mouth. And said it better. Again.

This is the second time I’m quoting Seth Godin this morning. And it’s only 9 am. The first time was at 4 am (I was coaching a client on the other side of the world). We were talking about “lizard brain”. Mostly, I’ve been thinking about “big plans” and how the lizard brain LOVES to shut ’em down. So I wanted to write about it. And then I received THIS in my inbox. I cannot, EVER, top this. In all its reprinted glory, I give you what Seth Godin scooped from my brain: Make Big Plans …that’s the best way to make big things happen. Write down your plans. Share them with trusted colleagues. Seek out team members and accomplices. Shun the non-believers. They won’t be easily convinced, but they can be ignored. Is there any doubt that making big plans increases the chances that something great will happen? Is there any doubt that we need your art and your contribution? Why then, are you hesitating to make big plans? Oh yes, yes, yes. And if you don’t know yet what those big plans might be? I still have a couple ofPay-What-You-Choose Clarity Sessions (usually $200 for 75 minute session). Email me your reasonable offer and away we go. Getting you super clear on your big plans…and executing...

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Love+Joy+Clarity

Happy Love+Joy+Clarity Day, y’all! “What, huh?” Well, maybe you’ve noticed all the red hearts and cards floating around today. “LOVE”! Chocolatey, spicy, colourful and kissy. Whether you’re in love or not, it’s hard not to appreciate a dazzle of hot pink in an otherwise drab and gray month. So, Valentine’s Day = the LOVE piece. That leads me to “JOY” (love has that effect on me). Am beyond thrilled to introduce the little eBook that’s been in my heart: The Joy Pages. Inspired by my Mom’s beautiful mantra “don’t postpone joy”, my hope is that it inspires the same in you. Go ahead and get yours by subscribing over there in the pretty right hand column. (Don’t you dig the branches spilling out where they have no business spilling out? As Carrie said when she designed it: “I love the idea of joy that will not be bound by sidebar delineations.” What a fabulous metaphor). Please take some time with the exercises, enjoy it and spread it around. With huge thanks. And finally: CLARITY. I A-D-O-R-E clarity. For me, clarity is the birthplace of genius. Oh, it’s elusive all right. It taunts, it teases, it dances just out of reach. And yet. YET. It’s there…ours for the taking. So let’s get you some, shall we? My Clarity sessions are 75 minutes of mojo-revving, heart-stopping goodness. We. Get. You. Clear. On the thing that wants answers. On the decision that wants to be made. On the business that wants to be born. On the relationship that wants to be released. Clarity. Forget about crystals. We’re talking about diamonds here. NORMALLY this session is a steal at $200. Today’s the day you PAY-WHAT-YOU-CHOOSE. (I also A-D-O-R-E choice). So, this February 14, email me your reasonable offer and a few words about the “issue” that is begging for clarity. I’ll fall in love with you and then will send you a link to my calendar and some hellaciously juicy questions and away we go. Conceiving clarity together. If it’s not for you, please invite someone you love to take me up on this offer. (They’ll need to act fast…I have a limited number of spots available.) Happy Love+Joy+Clarity Day.  I know I, for one, am happy. XOX...

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Something else, in Fear’s clothing

This week, I was stumped. Am writing an eBook reallllly close to my heart about Joy. It’s inspired by my mother, whose beauteous maxim was “Don’t Postpone Joy”. I had already called Fear out and told it I was going through with my eBook(s) whether it liked it or not. I believed we had an understanding. I’d write, it would show up and I’d write in spite of it. Push on through. Besides, what’s easier for me than writing about Joy? I know this like the back of my hand. And it’s in honour of my Mom’s approach to life. (Also known to me like the back of my hand.) So I wrote up a neat and tidy outline for the free eBook that looks like it’s going to be really truly valuable, and then…nothing. NADA. White space. Blank page. Staring moonily back at me. Blink, blink, blink goes the cursor. I get up, shake it off, make some tea. I coax, I cajole, I get coached. I back up. I surge forward. I try a role call of saboteurs who may be trying to stop me. It doesn’t seem to be the “this is gonna suck, sucka!” or “who do you think YOU are to write about joy?” varietals (because, as my bud Leslie said and Rock Star Pam confirmed, I AM an expert on joy). And the Words. Will. Not. Come. Still something else. Shit. February 14th (launch date) creeps closer and closer. And closer still. Then Carrie (who is designing the stunningness that the eBook is becoming) asked me this: I also wondered if your mom had a favourite flower we might slip in somehow, or a particular colour that made her smile. Your intention, alone, makes this project special… but if there are other little details we can stitch in, do say. I immediately respond: My Mom had sublimely eclectic taste (friends LOVED our homes because they were fun and lived-in). Art everywhere (nothing “valuable” just lots of pieces from travels…none of which “matched”) Massive colour (like salmon-coloured walls) though she searched her whole life for the perfect “butter yellow” wall colour for her kitchens (never found it).  Yes flowers…the showiness of hibiscus and the subtleties of lily-of-the-valley. Trees were huge for her (we have a commemorative one in her name on the beach that reads: Brenda Geisler – Lover of Life and Trees –...

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