Archives for May 2009

Is Your Inner Child Still Running Your Life?

At six years old, I was a wild little rascal who liked to try out studio wrestling moves on my unsuspecting friends.  I was fearless back then in an untamed kind of way.  But gradually my wild spirit got crushed in my upbringing.  em-adn-les

My Dad believed in the scared shitless variety of psychological punishment.  One time he got me good.  He had a friend with a black sedan pull up the drive way and told me they had come to take me to Morganza, the local reform school.  I believed him and I ran away and hid out I the woods until I thought it was safe to return.

Our conditioning is the cumulative affect of our upbringing and all the applied thoughts that shaped our version of who we think we are.

I’ve talked with hundreds of coaching clients about their upbringing and the norm was a general beating down.  We were not celebrated for the special beings that we are.  Often we were not encouraged to go for our authentic greatness but instead cautioned to play it safe.

Even then, as five and six year old children, we tried to make sense of this irrational parenting so we made up explanations.  Often what we made up had us feeling less than capable.

But those events really only had the meaning that we interpreted them to have.  The good news is that now we can go back and give those events new meanings that serve us well.

Now we can honor the little person within so that a stronger and wiser self if running our lives.

Your Inner Child As Hero

It truly is remarkable how you’ve turned out in spite of your upbringing. Look at the four choices we have in any challenging situation.  We couldn’t really remove ourselves because we were dependent on them.  Change wasn’t an option either.  Try working with an alcoholic parent to change your relationship.  Good luck there.

Acceptance wasn’t even a concept I could fully understand until my forties and many adults never learn it.  What was left?  Resistance, but even our resistance was thwarted.  It never got full expression, so the only thing we could do was to swallow it and turn it back in on ourselves.  As a result we made a series of false conclusions to try and make sense of things.

That’s why we need to write a whole new story about our childhood.  Your inner child is still influencing your capacity and in many cases right up to the limits of what you set for yourself in first and second grade.

But your inner child was and still is quite courageous.  Don’t you think it’s time to honor his or her courage?

Now You Know Better

As adults we are responsible for our destiny and that includes any and all needed adjustments on how we recall our history.

Truly, as tragic as it was, our parents did the best job that they were capable of at the time.  But now that you know better, it’s time to write a new life story.  It’s time to tell the truth to yourself about your remarkable capabilities.

Have a dialogue today with that little guy or gal (who is still within affecting your results) and allow him or her to understand what happened.  Talk it all through.  Explain that you made it all up in order to make sense of the world and now you know better.

Essentially recondition your conditioning.

Give it new meaning.  Give a new meaning that serves you well.  Here’s how to do that.  Your story needs to be strong enough to heal the little boy or girl within.

Give Her What She Needs Most

Imagine a spot where you sat and pondered in your home when you were six years old.  I sit with Little Tommy on the back porch steps and talk with him while he sits on my lap.

So sit with your little gal and talk with her.  Ask her what she needs.  Really get into imagining that you and her are sitting in a place at the home where you grew up.  Invite the dialogue;  she’ll welcome the opportunity to get it all out.

Don’t judge her, just give her all the time she needs to say everything that comes up.  If you cry, that’s very good, just let it all flow.   Some folks do well setting the scene and then writing out the questions and answers.  After she says what she needed, that she didn’t get back then, your job is to reassure her that all is well now.  Then give her what she needs to feel whole.

Tell her that you’ll give her the support, recognition, celebration or encouragement that she missed out on all those years ago.

Assure her that you will love her and acknowledge her and give her all that she needs.  Give her a closing hug and be sure she feels like she can come to you to talk things through any time.

Your inner child is still setting limits and running your life.  You might as well give her or him a new script to follow because you are the creator of your destiny.

How To Extract Your Waiting Wisdom

You are smarter, more capable and far better off than you think you are, but only when you decide to connect to your deep well of waiting wisdom within. istock_000003366515xsmall

Your greatest wisdom exists deep within because as you age layer upon layer of false assumptions, comparisons, judgments and the opinions of others are piled on top of it. For an exploration of this nature you need the proper excavation tools to dig past all of that outside junk.

Yet your beautiful, powerful mind is so protective of past conclusions that you have to resort to trickery so that your conscious mind can step back and allow your inner wisdom to emerge.

The key to authentic business building is to operate more and more consciously and less and less mechanically.

When we look to others to supply our wisdom we are often in misalignment with our own original potential.  By going deep and extracting your own wisdom you automatically have increased the probability of success.

My greatest service as a life coach, coaching new business owners is selecting the right tools to guide the inner journey so that my clients can find and express their authentic selves.

The right tool will facilitate high performance by raising self-understanding, self-esteem and personal effectiveness. This allows us to access wisdom and other resources that normally remain hidden from our consciousness. Without digging deep this wisdom does not normally show up in our behavior.

One of the most powerful tools I use in this work is sentence stem completion.  I first read about it in Nathaniel Branden’s book The Six Pillars of Self Esteem.  Sentence stem completion is most effective as a tool to facilitate understanding, liberate self-expression and activate self-healing.

Sentence stem completion rests on he premise that all of us have more knowledge than we are normally aware of – more wisdom than we use, more potentials than typically show up in our behavior. Sentence completion is a tool for accessing and activating these “hidden resources.”  When we intensify awareness, we tend to generate a need for action that expresses our changed psychological state.  Nathaniel Branden

Sentence Stem Completion Instructions

1). Begin with an uncompleted sentence stem in the area of your exploration. Here are some possibilities that have served my clients well.

If I really wanted to achieve this goal  …
When I apply 10% more consciousness to my activities …
If I truly wanted to create my own unique product I’d …
My most powerfully productive business decision this quarter would be to …

2). Repeat the stem each time out loud and then jot down the completion. Some feel more comfortable working with a tape recorder and then going back and transcribing. It’s the speed and lack of self-judgment that lowers repressive barriers and allows the wisdom to emerge. This is a rapid-fire exercise — do not sit and stew over answers. Just say the stem and complete the sentence as rapidly as possible. No pauses, the game is to answer quickly one after another. Don’t worry about the validity of what you’re coming up with while you’re doing it. Just complete each sentence and then again.

3). For each sentence stem keep adding completions as fast as possible. Work with the same stems for seven days in a row. No pauses to think in between. Just write. Each stem must be a complete sentence. Stems may be repeated on different days but on any one day, all stems need to be different. Complete at least six endings for each stem, each day.

4). At the end of the week reflect on what you’ve written. Allow yourself to be surprised about what you’ve written.  At the end of seven days look at all of your completions and select the top three you are willing to act on. This wisdom may need further refinement but it will beat the root of your most optimum and effective actions.

Here’s the good news.  The wisdom you seek is seeking you.  Your internal guidance has been trying to get your attention to shine a light on your optimum path.  You willingness to go deep and bring it forth will definitely accelerate the process.

Wisdom serves as widening of perception and somehow allows us to see situations and intentions in a new light.

This new light expands possibilities so we don’t jump to limiting conclusions based on past experience.  Instead we are emboldened to create our very own brave new world.

Your Best Career Is Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Is it inauthentic to do the things that you don’t like to do?  Just because a career choice is challenging does that automatically mean you’ve chosen the wrong career?

I’m writing about our comfort zone because many have confused authentic work to mean something that is such a good fit that it comes easily.  But natural and easy are not the same things.  colorful fireworks show silhouettes

This myth of ease has caused more harm than good because it causes many to question themselves.  This self-doubt makes them stop before they can seize their best career.

Some believe that when we have chosen the right career, (when we are living our purpose) doors easily open and everything falls into place.  I know a few who have enjoyed that level of validation.

But what about those who don’t? Does that automatically mean that they haven’t chosen their best career?

Not necessarily. Things don’t necessarily fall into place for us just because we’ve chosen well. An essential part of choosing well is recognizing the opportunity when we miss the mark and adjusting our aim accordingly.

Until we walk down the hallway of action we can’t see which doors will open.  In 1998 I thought I’d found my best career as an inspirational speaker.  But until an audience member asked about coaching, I was blind to the very opportunity that was my best career fit.

Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.  William Ellery Channing

We can be completely in our element and still be challenged.

Challenge and authenticity do not exclude one another.

What if things never fell in place for you? Would you quit life? Would you give up entirely?

Consider for a moment, what makes the comfort zone comfortable?  Please just pause and answer this question before reading on.

What make activities fall into a zone of comfort?  I think it’s because we’ve already experienced them before.  They are familiar to us.  In other words when we are in our comfort zone we are experiencing another version of the same past that we’ve already experienced.

In bullfighting there is a term called querencia. The querencia is the spot in the ring to which the bull returns. Each bull has a different querencia, but as the bullfight continues, and the animal becomes more threatened, it returns more and more often to his spot.

As he returns to his querencia, he becomes more predictable. And so, in the end, the matador is able to kill the bull because instead of trying something new, the bull returns to what is familiar. His comfort zone.   Carly Fiorina

Test this theory.  Go ahead I dare you.  Think about a time when you felt totally alive.  Recall a time when you felt a vibrant pulsing in your body and a real sense of adventure.   Were you challenged or were you comfortable?

Were you taking part in a new activity or repeating something you’d already done?

I thought so.  So tell me please, what’s so damned good about comfort? Comfortable isn’t even that much fun.

The couch beckons all of us when we need relief or rest.  Yet comfort is not what makes life interesting.

Life is to be lived flat out in circumstances that arouse.

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.  Emerson

Perhaps you already have found your best career.  Perhaps everything you’ve ever wanted is just on the other side of your current challenge.  Dare you persist and see?

What’s the Truth About Authentic Work?

You compensate.  I compensate.  To some degree we all compensate for a lack of authentic work.  Over time we’ve made stuff up to rationalize our unfulfilling work.  We’ve pretended, avoided and shirked responsibility in order to make our work fit who we are. 

If you’re an employee, chances are, you’ve resigned yourself to a fulfillment-starved life.  If forced to tell the truth, you’d admit that you’ve settled for far less than fulfilling and delightful work.

I don’t bash employment just because it’s slavery.  I bash employment because so many employees are lying to themselves.  So if I have to piss off ten of you to wake one of you up, I’m happy to do it.

Here’s proof why employment is inauthentic for at least 90% of employees.

Your job was not created to give you greater freedom; it was created to restrict your freedom.

Your job was not created to give you greater opportunities for authentic self-expression; it was created to limit your self-expression.

Your job was not created to fit who you are; it was created to serve the needs of your employer.

Your job was not created for your economic benefit; it was created to increase the prosperity of others.

However, it’s not your suck ass job that’s killing you.  What’s killing you is all that compensation.  What’s killing you is all the time and energy you invest trying to fit a mold that is not a fit for who you are.

It’s draining as hell to fake it all the time.  When you act like something doesn’t matter and it does matter, you shrink your soul and smother your authentic spirit.

When your job doesn’t fit, then in order to survive, you must compensate by showing up as a lesser version of yourself.  This lesser, lower self is false and it takes a lot of energy to offset a lack of expressed authenticity.

All of this accumulated faking has diluted the true you so much so that your authentic voice can’t be heard because of all the excuses you spout.

So how can you find the gumption to live a bigger more vigorous work life?
Do two things.

1). Make space for your authentic voice by silencing your fake self.

All of your accumulated compensation is emotional and intellectual clutter and clutter must be cleared.  Without space for your authentic self to express and act, your little, fearful self will keep running the show by avoiding, pretending and shirking responsibility.

2). Create a work environment that brings you robustly alive.

Mike Tomlin, head coach of our world champion Pittsburgh Steelers knows how.  The Steelers are now holding their three-day mini-camp.  It’s the first time that rookies get to work out and train with the veterans.

A reporter asked Tomlin how he determines that a player has the hunger to be a champion.  Tomlin said he doesn’t look for hunger, because hunger can be satisfied.  He’s right; multi-million dollar contracts don’t guarantee that a player will even make the team.

Instead of hunger, Tomlin looks for drive.  Drive is aggressive readiness along with the energy to undertake taxing efforts. Drive is hustle, initiative, vitality, and get-up-and-go.

Drive is natural when we find or create our authentic space.

Scroll up and look at that picture ofHines Ward again.  At the wide receiver position, Hines is one of the most powerful and vicious blockers in the league.  Whether he makes the hit or gets hit – he always bounces up with that big ass smile on his face.  Hines is in his natural element.  He’s found his authentic space.

We can apply this lesson in our search for authentic work.  Authentic work isn’t a craving to be satisfied but an environment in which your natural drive can express itself.

This is so important to understand because fear around not having enough money is the number one reason folks give for not making their move to the freedom of self-employment.  But money is about hunger not drive.  Hunger is only temporarily satisfied.

Fear not, you’re authentic work is also seeking you.  Create some space and you’ll be more able to see it.

Find or create an environment where you can naturally speak your truth.

Find or create an environment where you are eager to do the work.

Find or create a work opportunity where you are driven to excel and then both your drive and your hunger will be fulfilled.