Tag Archives: work

When It’s Time To Stop Trying So Hard

If we want our relationships, our work, our art, our life experience to be amazing, we will need to learn to let go of trying to “do” it right and learn how to have more fun in any and all ways possible.  I see this a lot now in my fun work.  Some have said to me how are you doing this?  What is it that you’re doing to make this happen?  I don’t want to annoy them but the truth is I’m enjoying myself and that’s why and how it’s all coming together.

I see that people are pushing and pushing to be seen, to have the best social media practices to bring visibility to themselves by networking, and emailing lists, creating videos because they’ve heard that works, or learning the latest and greatest social media sites.  To me it’s all contributing to more noise and if everyone is doing the same thing…you getting where I’m going with this?  Then you’re just like everyone else and don’t stand out at all.

I do some best practices too and I’m trying to learn a couple of social media thing-a-ma-bobbers.  But mastering all “the correct and proven steps”, well maybe that works for others, but for me, it sucks the joy right out of my fun work and then things get stuck.  So I keep it simple and just. have. fun.

pexels-photo-258330You want to know my best practices?  It’s hiking, going for a walk in the woods, painting, editing my photos, writing, hanging out with my husband, sailing, watching a great movie, reading a good book, listening to music.

It’s very old-school but if you so desire, there are best practices for everything, from social media, promoting ourselves, growing our business, even how to approach one’s spiritual practice.  I’ve heard more rules from people than I can shake a stick at.  There’s always someone to help us get caught up in doing it better, right, doing whatever it is more correctly, more successfully.

If we’re in alignment with our purpose it’s all working out fine, trust me.

My belief is from personal experience, that everything, from any particular area of our spiritual growth, meaning our work, relationships, art, everyday experiences, will all flourish and bloom in releasing our need to control or force things into place just so and instead enjoy life.

When we’re truly following our heart, we’ll be successful, however success shows up for us on our path.

This week my challenge is my beautiful website photos are cut off, in half, on a PC.  The banner photos weren’t even close to looking like the photos I took.  I went into full-out stress mode trying different aspect ratios, moving the focal point around, trying other photos, emailing my website’s customer service, and spending time on user experience on a PC laptop and a MAC laptop.

Watching myself slouch into this is not enjoyable mode I encouraged my husband to take a break with me from his projects. So we went to our favorite lunch spot, we ate outside, talked with some locals, visited a couple of art galleries, took a photo to be framed, and enjoyed a farmer’s market. e1d81-1502570672679

And when I switch to something lighter I allow for the best ideas and my creativity to blossom, and answers and solutions show up.

My intuition is assisting me all the time in learning to pay attention to how I feel in more and more moments and to strike a nice balance.  It doesn’t have to be OMG this is SO AMAAAAZINGGGG EXCITING kind of feeling because that’s impossible to maintain all the time, but sometimes it’s just a feeling of I’m in the zone, this feels nice.  And if something doesn’t feel right, I know not to push through it and keep hammering away but instead take a break and do something else.  As an ex-uber-do-er, it’s so worth it for me to practice this balance because I feel better and everything works better.  I guess you could say I’m more successful when I stop trying so hard.

My experience is if we want our relationships, our work, our art, our life experience to be even better than what we can imagine, we will need to learn to let go of trying to do it right and learn how to enjoy life in any and all ways possible.

 

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More On Aligning With Our Purpose

Lately I feel like I’ve been shot out of a cannon.  Even as I type this post my keyboard can’t keep up with me and I have to keep pausing for the cursor to catch up.  I’m conflicted between wanting faster Internet, but not wanting to give Verizon more of my money.

Along with things feeling like they’re moving at the speed of light, are the inevitable growing pains associated with me being ok with being different.  Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 6.19.55 PMI’m coloring outside the lines and some days I own that, and some days I feel awkward and weird and weird (I know I typed that twice).  There are gazillions of people out there talking and writing about the very thing I’m talking and writing about.  We’re all doing our thing, each of us resonating with different people, as it should be.   But it’s clear that this line of work is not attracting approval from friends, family, or most strangers.  It isn’t mainstream.  Mark my words, once my book is published and I’ve given a TEDTalk, then I’ll get the approving sentiments, the clap on the back, but by then I won’t need their encouragement.

When aligning with our purpose we’re stretching ourselves.  You’re probably equally excited and terrified.  It’s understandable that you’re in need of a kind word, occasional words of encouragement.  Funny, we get impressed about where people work, what their titles are, how monetarily successful they are, if they’re published, what they drive, where they live, how they dress.  Meanwhile, we’re missing the magnificent that we pass on the sidewalk every single day, the great musician guy working at Trader Joe’s, or the folks we meet networking or at social events, that seem so ordinary, just like us…but, just like us, they’re amazing and they’re standing right in front of us.  Me.  You.  Not because we worked at stupid AOL years ago but because of who we are.  Maybe we should all wave while jumping up and down shouting “I’m right here!  I’m a magnificent human being…do you see it too?!”

You see yesterday, I had a gigantic moment.  I joined a group of ladies for a friend’s birthday and was asked what I do or if I was retired.  Answering her I said I’m a speaker and talk about spirituality, about looking to ourselves for the change we want for ourselves and the world.  Simple right?  And then, it felt so good to say that, I kept going.  Yupper, because I was sharing something that meant a lot to me I kept talking out of sheer nervousness as several faces politely listened to my monologue.  It’s like I gave myself a get out of jail card purging many decades of holding back and it came out in a torrent of words.  Then I told them my other idea I’m working on, cause evidently I wasn’t done talking yet.

We all have these moments that are big for us but others couldn’t possibly know because the moment is ours, not theirs.  It always feels good not trying to fit in, being my old self who used to hold back, worried I might “rock the boat” or stick out, afraid of being seen and heard.  Yesterday I talked too much about myself, stuck out, rocked the mainstream boat a little, as I talked about something many people don’t understand and probably think is strange for me to do.  Bite me.  I color outside the lines and happy that I do.  All I have to say is, if you’re reading this and you color outside the lines too, good!  Don’t stop.  Don’t hold back.  Be yourself, and show other people what it looks like to think differently, and to see how that pays off in unimaginable ways. Not everyone colors outside the lines and that’s ok too.  We should all be ourselves unapologetically.

For me, I know I’m experiencing a growth spurt.  No one else will recognize it.  But it’s here and I’m good with it and with all the vulnerable feelings that come along with it.  Stretching myself is always a challenge, but it gets easier, until…I reach my next challenge.  No question, I’d rather be in a space of growth than be stuck where I was.

Aligning With Our Purpose – It Isn’t Possible…

…to make a mistake.  All it takes is a dance.  To realize our dreams takes perseverance, action, letting go of total control, and experiencing joy.  It isn’t an intimidating dance, just a series of steps.  When I dance I have some unique moves, especially when driving.  In the car I sing and dance but I still hold back when I pull up to traffic lights.

My desire is to take those joyful feelings when I dance and sing in my car, and to also feel them in everything I do.  And, from what I’ve experienced, aligning with our purpose takes a good amount of lightheartedness.  We create our best expression of ourselves by aligning with that which brings us joy.

Do you believe you need to learn more, figure it all out before taking steps, or be more perfect first?  You know yourself better than anyone.  Sometimes there’s a handy dandy excuse to play smaller and hold back.  But sometimes you may want to wait for a good reason.  But there’s probably some step you can take.  It’s only for you to know.  All the friends, family, self-help gurus, coaches, counselors, advisors, leaders, will not know you like you know you.  You can run your considerations by those you trust, but at the end of the day, it’s how you feel.  Learning to read how we feel and making decisions from our own feelings is a good place to be.  You’ll figure it out, it’s you learning you.  You can’t make a mistake.

There’s lots of thoughts and feelings that help light the way.  CreateLearning to pay attention to them is very helpful.  If there’s excitement around the action you’re taking, that’s awesome.  From your actions, you’ll receive what you need, even if it’s not necessarily what you think you need.  Making decisions out of fear or worry, doesn’t result in the most terrific of possibilities.  However, feeling genuinely excited and joyful, creates our best opportunities.  We might even find our best opportunities challenge us…in a good way.

My analyzing and perfecting sucked the joy out of a moment faster than I could sneeze.  I had to learn what living joyfully meant.  Duh right?  I was waiting for it to happen as a result of doing certain things. I learned it’s about cultivating a lighter state of mind, anytime.

Seems to me we have more than one purpose in our lifetime, some we share with all of humanity, plus those that are unique to each of us.  Perhaps one of the purposes we share with humanity is learning to release our heaviness and to live more joyfully.  Also seems like a good path towards experiencing unconditional love.  Cultivating lightheartedness.

Ah Networking…Parlay This…

For whatever reason I woke up in the middle of the night and entertained myself by watching the stars outside our bedroom window, reviewing my day by reliving the networking lunch I attended.  I somehow composed in my head a much funnier blog post about networking than what I’m typing here.  But how nice that I was cracking myself up last night.  Funny or not, I had an epiphany about networking, or better yet…let’s call it…reaching out and connecting with others.

Creating my own vision and ideas requires that I also create the follow-up to those ideas.  That means it’s time to leave my awesome sunny house, pull myself away from watching the bird feeder activity, shake some hands and parlay connections to speaking opportunities.  Opportunities won’t drop into my life and bite me on my cute…well, you get the idea.  I have to take some action in order for the results to meet me where I am.

Therefore, yesterday I attended the second networking event in two weeks and I haven’t done that since the days I worked in the Corporate world.  Thankfully, I’m no longer mingling and talking about how I grow a company’s ROI through my strategic marketing plans.  Now I’m talking about our humanity, something 30 years ago I never would have guessed I’d be talking about.  Something that’s not the least bit mainstream and boy did I ever feel like I stuck out at this luncheon.  After my initial Sesame Street song moment…which of these things don’t belong?, when I took a breath and chilled, I realized I’m actually really great with sticking out because I can’t make much of a contribution if I water down the thought provoking ideas I’m sharing.

As I listened to the realtors, the beauty product and healthy food supplement sellers, those in fashion, IT, photography, floral arranging, marketing, travel, fitness, various support services, I realized we’re not so different after all.  pexels-photo-70292Just like me, it seemed like every person that attended that luncheon desires a meaningful life.  They either genuinely already feel good about what their work is or want to.  Purposeful work is a heartfelt desire but often isn’t pursued for a gazillion reasons.  When I was ready to move into what I’m doing now I had to let go of don’t attract attention to you.  And here I am, an introvert networking to find public speaking opportunities where I’ll be seen and heard.  Introverted or extroverted, as we create connections we all show our vulnerabilities as we allow each other to see where we are in our personal process.  I’m sure I wasn’t the only person feeling awkward.

Ok, so in the past, networking has been nowhere near as fun as a walk in the woods, music, painting, taking photographs, or going to the dentist. But my new intention is to have fun with it because it’s about connecting with others and isn’t that what my work is all about?  And I can use networking to practice telling what I do in a New York minute (fat chance), assist someone with one of my contacts, parlay it into a newfound acquaintance, or let it lead to a sweet speaking opportunity.  I’m good now at allowing for and enjoying what’s within to assist me.  Now it’s time to get out of my own way and gratefully let it also assist, through people.

Trying to Resist Vulnerability

This week’s WordPress word prompt is resist.   Something I know about because I do it every day, several times a day.  Recently I’m trying to approach my passion more like a job.  I’m organizing my time to reach out to various organizations to see if I can share with them what I’ve learned.  To share about living with more awareness and working with a higher energy and how it assists me so beautifully.  To show just how dramatically one’s life can shift as a result to beginning looking at oneself and practicing new habits, behaviors, and thoughts. And how I feel this directly impacts the world.  I’m good with all of that…just not the reaching out part.  I feel vulnerable.

There are many incredible organizations out there and all it takes is contacting them.  But I resist.  I know I’ll be rejected sometimes and I know some will say ‘yes’.  And, still I resist.  Even though I’ve been personally encouraged to step boldly forward and assured that I’m in alignment with my purpose, I still hold back.  Mostly I resist because I’m stuck on how to reach out.  What do I say?  How do I frame myself?  What are my first words of introduction?  Ugh, please don’t tell me to create an elevator speech.  I will not come up with an elevator speech.  No way.  That’s ok for my previous career but not this new direction I’m so excited about. Nope, uh-uh, no.  My words can be spontaneous.  However at this point, spontaneous means tripping over my words.  More vulnerability.

I hold back by running an errand, writing this blog post, taking measurements for a chair, looking for tile, looking in iPhoto for our best photos and ordering them so we can frame and hang them in our hallway.  All fun things to lose myself in but none come close to the passion I feel about my work.  I have abundant freedom where I can take the occasional break to go outside and enjoy the weather, even paint a little, or make a call, but then I really do need to go back to stepping boldly forward or I’m not creating what I’m excited about.  I literally feel myself being assisted and encouraged.  My guidance is so patient but, gratefully, it’s also persistent.  Get out there.  Be bold.  As Nike would say…Just Do It.  Have you noticed that many great brand taglines are also great inspirational sayings?  I can’t get away from marketing for a minute.  The Army beat me to Be All You Can Be.  The Army…jeesh!  But I digress.

Every time I phone someone, drop by their business to drop off my information, or send a proposal via email, I place myself in a vulnerable position and feel both excited and uncomfortable.  I don’t know about you but being vulnerable is not something I learned to be good at in my last career.  I didn’t get to practice that much.  Can you imagine my quarterly review at AOL where one of the guys suggests…Sara, I’d like to see just a little more vulnerability from you in our weekly team meetings.  Ha!  LOL as we used to say.  But strangely enough my vulnerability complements me if I let it.  It’s me.  It’s in my story, it shows up as I allow myself to be seen…it’s the parts of me that are kind, caring, thoughtful, compassionate, also awkward, unsure and afraid.  How ’bout I resist less, Think Different (thank you Apple), and pursue my dream, vulnerability and all.

Dave's Maine photos copy