Thursday, November 25, 2010

Is it Possible to Live in a State of Thanksgiving Gratitude All Year Long?

Happy Thanksgiving! Since feeling thankful is on everyone’s mind, I thought it would be a great time to talk about gratitude – the kind of thankfulness you have all year long.

Gratitude is being thankful for what you have in your life on a daily basis – even in the face of adversity.

Of course, we all have challenges in life, but it’s how we choose to look at them that makes or breaks us. A wise man once told me, “You become what you think about.” So, if you’re thinking about how horrible a certain situation is, you are creating more of that. However, if you can start looking for the good in the situation, you will continue to find more of the good.

Living in a state of gratitude focuses you on the NOW – not on the past that you can’t change – and not on the future that you have no control over.

Today is a great day to practice living in the now. Enjoy this time with your family and friends. Thank those who have made a big impact in your life.

One way to stay in a state of gratitude all year long is to keep a gratitude journal. Spend a few minutes each day writing about all of the things you are feeling grateful for in that moment.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Will You be Lured Away from Your Thanksgiving Celebration to Appease the Retailers?

This morning I saw a headline in USA Today about more retailers opening their doors for shopping on Thanksgiving Day.

Experts are saying Thanksgiving is not as sacred a day as it was even a few years ago.

The story also says that opening on Thanksgiving is an experiment to see how “penny pinching consumers” will respond. I question this approach.

One of the great things about Thanksgiving is that it exemplifies what a true holiday means – spending time with friends and family – usually without the giving and receiving of gifts. Yes, gifts are a wonderful way to show someone you love them, and we certainly experience plenty of that at Christmas. But the unique thing about Thanksgiving is that it is not associated with gifts.

Thanksgiving is a fantastic time to slow down and appreciate all that we have in our lives. It’s the only “official” day of the year for it. But, now that retailers are inviting everyone out of their homes, away from their families, on Thanksgiving, will the holiday lose its meaning? Will people be so tempted by the opportunity to save a buck that they won’t even take this one day to appreciate all they have in their life? Is everyone going to be in a hurry to down their turkey so they can be first in line for the “door buster” sales?

It will be interesting to see how consumers respond. Will the retailers win out by offering deals sweeter than Thanksgiving dessert? I would ask us all to think about how quickly we want to rush from our special Thanksgiving celebrations to the stores. Don’t get me wrong! I am all about saving money – but I’m not going to sacrifice my family time on Thanksgiving Day to save a few bucks.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

You Get What You Give

Have you ever heard about the law of attraction? It basically says, "You get what you give." That means if you dish out negative words, thoughts or actions, you will attract negative words, thoughts and actions back to you.

It's all about the energy. Do you want to be surrounded by positive energy or negative energy? It's your choice.

Let's use Facebook as an example. When we post negative comments and thoughts, we feed our life with negative energy. How? Because then everyone around us feeds off of that negative energy with their negative comments. But, when we post positive comments, we feed our life with positive energy. Because then, people will post positive comments.

I know it's difficult. Trust me. There have been times even in the last few days when I felt so frustrated I wanted to shout out that frustration to the world, and Facebook seems like a good place to do it because you have an audience who will validate you. Facebook gives us a sense of immediate gratification because of our friends' replies, but our problem is not solved, and those negative feelings are still there. Plus, we've given all of our friends the gift of negativity in their day.

This is not to say we should not write about anything negative. But, there is a place for it that will be more therapeutic than just shouting it out to the world.

Where is that place? Your journal. Go ahead. Get your journal and write out every negative thought you have. Get it out of your head. That is awesome, therapeutic work. Then, shift your thoughts to gratitude for what you do have today. Finally, come up with an action step to take in the direction of shifting your negative situation to something that suits you better.

You see, shouting out those negative thoughts is a call asking someone to please say something to make us feel better. But, the truth is, we are the only ones who can make ourselves feel better.

Give this technique a try. And if you need help, call on me!

Sending positive energy to everyone today!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What to do When You are Overwhelmed

I was recently feeling so overwhelmed I turned to my life coaching tool box. In it I found a great way to help free my mind -- a life inventory.

I got out my journal (where I keep all of my thoughts). I grabbed my purple pen (a spiritual color for me). I put myself in a mind frame of asking for divine guidance. Then, I did a brain dump. I started writing down everything I want or need to get done this week.

I wrote down 37 things. Some things are simple tasks, some are more complicated -- things like playing with the kids, cleaning the house, working on marketing my business, finding a babysitter for the kids, exercising....and on and on.

It felt great to get it out of my head and onto paper where I could actually see it. Then I began to analyze my list. I asked myself, "What are the most important things?" I ranked playing with the kids way up there, but I realized I often let all of the other less important things get in the way of that.

Writing a life inventory really helped me see where I am spending my time versus where I want to be spending my time. It also empowered me to cross a few things off the list. It gave me permission to say "no" to less important tasks that don't fit in with my priorities.

It also allowed me to receive help. I was not expecting this! I shared my list with  my husband, and, wouldn't you know it, he took one of the things off the list for me -- getting the oil changed in my car. What a huge gift! Really! I'd been putting it off for many reasons.

I felt so much more at peace after this process. I think it's something I should do sooner, rather than later next time those feelings of overwhelm start creeping in!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Oops! I messed up!
I had an experience last week that made me feel very grateful for my life coaching tool box. The life coaching tool box is where you go when you have a problem. It is filled with tools to help bring your mind from chaos to peace. The problem I had was that I needed to say, "I'm Sorry."

So, what happened, you are wondering. Well, I received a call from someone I am close with. That person asked me a question that sent a dagger straight through my heart and severed several nerves. Ouch! That hurt.

Instead of remaining calm, cool and collected, I answered the question sarcastically. I got terse and asked the reason for the question. My words and my tone let that person know I was annoyed.

I hung up the phone and complained to my husband about the nerve of this person. Then I went to bed and slept on it...knowing I had some work ahead of me. The next morning I got up and got out my trusty journal. This is where the life coaching tool box comes into play.

I first journaled my feelings about the situation -- the good, bad and ugly. Then, I put myself in that person's shoes and realized that call must have been difficult for them to make. Next, I looked at what I could be grateful for with the situation -- among other things, this person had the courage to ask the question. And, we can always be grateful for the opportunity to say we are sorry. Finally, I worked on my action plan. It was to write out my sincere apology and call that person back and give it.

Why write out an apology? It's really important to get clear on what you are going to say before you say it. In my case, I needed to take responsibility for my actions. Apologize for my words and my tone. Explain why I responded that way. That I was being selfish. That I would do my best not to respond that way in the future. That it is not my intention to lose my cool. That I don't want them to be afraid to call me, because they will get a crabby response.That I love them. Lucky for me, my apology was accepted, and it was a nice conversation.

Although it's difficult, saying you're sorry is actually a very beautiful process, because it allows the person who messed up to come down from their throne, clear the air, and show the person who got the brunt of the mistake that they are loved. It works to establish trust between the two people -- that they are both human, but that they are willing to admit mistakes and forgive one another. It allows both people to let that experience float away instead of having it drag them down with resentment. Isn't that a beautiful thing?

If you need help mastering the art of saying "I'm Sorry," contact me.

Written with love for everyone I've had to say I'm sorry to! :)