Want to Dare Greatly? Then be willing to be perfectly imperfect

tv appearance
tv appearance

I was recently on TV.  You can watch it here:

We taped the segment four days before it aired.  That gave me a lot of time to go through a giant rollercoaster of emotions.  Right afterward I felt fantastic.  I did it!  How cool!  It was fun!  I didn't sweat too much or fall over or stumble over my words.  I didn't let fear of something new get in my way of doing it.

A few hours later, I got hit with what Brene Brown calls a "shame storm."  Oh my goodness.  People were going to SEE this! They might not like it.  They might think it was silly.  Maybe I looked awful.  Maybe I was slouching. Maybe people would laugh.  Who am I to be on TV giving advice about to-do lists?  Maybe I'm giving life coaches a bad name.  I do so much more with my clients.  Are people going to think this is all I do?  I wanted to hide.  Literally crawl under the bed.   Then my logical and shaming-in-a different-kind-of-way self kicked in.  "It's not that big a deal.  Why are you freaking out over something so minor?  There are people with real problems, you know!"  I zoomed through this up and down rollercoaster of emotions all weekend.

Finally, it aired.  And it was fine!  More than fine!  How silly of me to get so worked up!

I bet you've ridden a similar emotional rollercoaster, especially when you've chosen to "step into the arena", as Brene Brown says.  When you've put yourself out there in a way that could be seen - and potentially judged.

A lot of people just skip it. It's too much.  They stay on the sidelines, comfortable commenting on everyone else but not jumping into the  fray themselves.  It feels safer.  Maybe they'll step out when they've lost 15 pounds, or dealt with the clutter, or learned a little more - they're not really enough of an expert yet.

But the world needs us to step up now.  Even if we don't feel ready.  Even if we aren't perfect yet.  The truth (you already know this) is that you're never completely ready.  And you're never, ever going to be perfect. And you're definitely never going to lose all fear.  So what do you do?  Here are four things to remember when you're looking for the courage to jump into the arena.

1. First, love your body. (love others’ bodies too!)  Quit analyzing your turkey neck or your cottage cheese thighs or your poofy stomach.  Love that your body gets you from here to there, or allows you to read, taste, touch and smell.  Love your fingertips, or your eyes, or your pretty toes, or your cute kneecaps.  Appreciate others’ bodies too – they are the real deal.  Give yourself the challenge of finding something beautiful about every stranger you meet – young or old, big or small.

2. Give yourself a break. (give others a break too!) You don’t have to get everything perfect every time.  You don’t need to present a flawless self.  It’s exhausting. Yes, meet your deadlines, do your work, but lighten up when and where you can! And for the love of all that is holy, don’t spend too much time on Pinterest! Just make the cupcakes/write the blog post/finish the project.

3. Tell the truth to yourself. (tell it to others too!)  If you don’t want to do something non-essential, don’t do it.  If you don’t want to go somewhere, don’t go.  If you don’t like something, don’t like it.  Let others have their truth too.  I practice this all the time in the hustly-bustly always-something-fun-happening world of New Orleans.  Sometimes I really prefer to stay home and sit in the grass with the cat and a book.  Sometimes the way I "dare greatly" is to do way more nothing in a world full of people doing a lot of something.

4. Let yourself feel, even the less “acceptable” feelings. (let others feel too.) Hey – sometimes you just feel bad. Sad. Mad. Scared.  Notice it.  feel it.  Let yourself feel it.  Go mope around for a while.  Cry.  Take a nap.  Hide under the covers.  Let others feel their feelings too.

dg pic
dg pic

I would love to discuss Brene's book, Daring Greatly, with you! Let's help each other gain some courage and have some fun in the process!

In town?  Join me for real coffee and chatting about the book on a Sunday morning in October - October 6 to be exact. Details here. Out of town? Join me for virtual coffee and chatting about the book on that same Sunday evening, 7p.m. Central. Details here (scroll down past the wordless walk pics!)

Five ways I stopped letting money get in the way

I run into this situation with clients somewhat regularly.  Something having to do with money is the obstacle keeping them from truly living the wild and precious lives they want. There's not enough money, they have a giant mortgage, moving to the place of their dreams (often near water) or going back to school would cost too much, etc., etc. Of course, there are plenty of facts to support their concerns.  Some clients have some kind of major debt on top of everything else.  And while I wish I did, I don't have a magic wand to wave around to make debt disappear, replaced by giant cartoon bags of money with dollar signs on the outside!  (That would be cool, wouldn't it?)

What I can offer are some tools to turn the whole money puzzle around. About ten years ago, I figured out what to do over a series of years and months. A "perfect storm" of books and resources all seemingly magically showed up at about the same time, and I was ready to dive into their wisdom.

Years later, here are the five biggest takeaways that I've figured out that made a difference for us.  They might do the same for you!

1. Pay attention.  Most spending that we're sorry about later happens when we purposefully stop paying attention.  We really don't want to know.  Have you ever taken a receipt for a meal or an outfit or a cart of groceries and not even looked at it? Either tossed it away or shoved it back into your wallet?  Have you said aloud or to yourself, "I don't even want to know how much that cost."  Well, there you have it.  Like a scientist doing an experiment, you have to start paying attention to the data and collecting some information, or you'll have no idea what's happening and you can't make a conclusion or analyze your results, or make changes that will work better for you in the future.

2. Stop trying to impress people.  I know, I know. You think you don't do this.  You're a well-adjusted person who makes choices based upon what you want.  You don't care a bit what other people think. Well, perhaps your evolved self doesn't care, but I can almost guarantee there's at least  some very tiny part of your brain that's keeping a pretty interesting tally of where you fit in a never-ending comparison game with others.  With their cars, or their homes, or their vacations.  Or the quality and value of their holiday gifts.  Once you really figure out what you want and get off the status hamster wheel to nowhere, you might be really surprised at the number of cartoon money bags accumulating around your feet!

3. Avoid "budgeting". Setting up budgets and deprivational systems that don't take into account the surprise root canal or cat vet emergency or hole in the roof or sink that won't drain or stolen bicycle or car that died completely - these systems are almost always doomed to fail.  (By the way, all the examples above happened to us in the past eight months!  They will really put a wrench into any budget, let me tell you!) There are other great options (see #1 above) that will work just as well as budgeting and won't make you feel like you've failed when the unexpected expenses for the month add up to more than you'd budgeted for all of your food and incidentals combined.

4. Make it a game. Solving your money issues is so much more effective when you can have fun while doing it! Contests with yourself or family members, charts, challenges, stickers - you'd be surprised how well these types of methods will work. How much fun can you have with just $5? Try that one today!

5. Figure out what's enough for you.  You have to master #2 to really pull this one off.  This is my favorite and most important step and it will completely turn around your money situation. Figuring out what's enough seems so simple, but you have to realize that there are outside forces all around you sending messages of lack and need, creating wants you didn't even know you had. It's called advertising, and no matter how smart you are, it works.  On you.

These are just a few of the things we've learned (you can see they're common sense and don't involve anything creepy or complicated like a pyramid scheme or buying foreclosed properties.) And we have no debt whatsoever.  Even our house is paid for.  We have enough liquid to live on for a year or more if we really needed to.  We have retirement funds.  We have a really happy life with plenty of trips and vacations (This year, a conference in Arizona, hiking on the AT for a week, three different beach trips, a mastermind coach weekend, a road trip to the mountains of Colorado, a trip to see family in Baltimore, a fall camping trip, and a New Orleans staycation getaway!) Our fridge is full of delicious and indulgent food. You get the picture.

And we did this with a very moderate amount coming in - at first two teachers' salaries and now just one teacher salary and one entrepreneur income. You don't need to be making six figures or even half that to transform your relationship with money. Give these tips a try and see what happens!

And check out The Indulgent Path to Money Management - a course I offer both virtually and locally a few times a year - if you'd like more support in living a happy life with the money you have.

Trying to stay out of a hurricane's business

I'm going to try to sneak this post in before the power goes out.  I'm all up in the Universe's business right now - trying hard not to be but finding myself tensing up as I hear the wind build up and make all kinds of eerie noises and push the trees and leaves and everything else outside.

We are "sheltering in place", as the authorities call it, for Hurricane Isaac.  We are prepared for power outages, the house is boarded up, we've secured everything as best we can, and now we ride it out and do our best to stay safe.  I have a sleeping cat by my side - we finally brought her in off the front porch - she loves to watch a good wind storm. You can read my additional musings about waiting for Isaac on my New Orleans blog here.

Staying is less hassle than going, and because this is a Category 1 storm (at least as of right now) we aren't required to evacuate.  But wind is wind and rain is rain, and it's almost harder to be here and listen to the wind and watch the plants turning sideways than it is to come home and see the aftermath but miss the process.

Already while I've been writing this the power's gone off for a few minutes.  I thought that was it, and oh well - I didn't get to post.  But miraculously it's come back on so I have a couple more minutes at least of reprieve where I can be attached to my electronics!

I'm doing my best to stay out of this hurricane's business.  To not sit here tensed up trying to get the wind to die down using the power of my thoughts.  Because goodness knows, what the hurricane does is certainly not my business.

There's a saying in coaching - there are three kinds of business:  The universe or God's business, other people's business, and our own business.  Often when we're in the middle of a lot of pain and suffering, it's because we're up in someone else's business - wishing something would be different.  Wishing someone would act differently, or wishing it would stop raining, or whatever.  Trying to control something we really have no control over.

So I'm taking a lesson from the hurricane here.  It's going to blow, rain, cause power outages, knock down trees, whatever it's going to do, and it's going to do it whether I sit here tensely holding my breath or whether I relax and breathe freely and stay present.

We are inside, safe, warm, loved and lucky. And we will hopefully be that way in the morning!

Time to sign off before the power goes out, and if you're having any trouble staying out of the business of the weather or another person, see how it feels to let it go.  Let it be.  Relax and breathe.  Ahhh.  Stay safe, everyone!


30 Day Challenge Day 12 - Believe despite the saboteur

It's been raining here all day.   I rather enjoy a rainy day when my plans for the day include a lot of writing and computer time.  I finished my rebus drawing - the last three are symbols, but the rest make a sentence - do you get it?

And my grass time was on the porch today but I did walk out into the yard briefly to take a photo of a lavender Mexican petunia and put my feet in the grass.  Later, I looked out the kitchen window and saw my turtle walking around in the rain - I suppose she doesn't mind the weather...

My rebus is about belief.  About believing in luck, love and success.  It's all possible.  For me and for you.  And on Day 12 I do have that belief, but I'm also dealing with the saboteur in my mind who wants to point out everything that I haven't done yet.

There's something sinister about making it twelve days in a challenge and still not having accomplished some of the bigger more complex tasks that have been on my list since day one.  Granted, they are not part of the challenge.  Maybe that's the problem! When I think about these projects I get a little panicky even though there's no external deadline for them or anyone who's being harmed except for me when I wake up at 5 a.m. and my saboteur brain hassles me about all the work I've been avoiding.

So what's the answer?  I believe it's to chip away at the tasks.  Pick one or two per day to work on.  When I picture the tasks completed it feels so much better than when they're unfinished.  Focusing on the feeling I'll have when they're done will help so much!  And also reminding my saboteur brain of what we are accomplishing every day, and that we're not actually in a race, and we're not behind.

How does your saboteur brain derail you?  What do you believe that helps you stick with a challenge or an obstacle?

Wrenches - what to do when they get thrown in...

Wrenches.  Unexpected events or occurrences that get tossed into the machinery of life.  As in, "Well, that really put a wrench in it!" What do we do when we start our day all ready for productivity and greatness and then find a wrench stuck in the machine?

I think my answer is to watch for distortion.  I was going to write about distortion anyway today, and then the universe provided me with a giant unexpected wrench.  Here's what happened.

My bicycle was stolen.  Yes, that cute one on the right that I just took on a Fourth of July picnic with my honey.  That one.  It was stolen while locked up on an extremely busy street in the French Quarter in broad daylight.  (Oh how I hate to tell you this, because I love my city and I don't want you to think ill of it.)  I haven't given much thought to who did it or how - in fact I'm strangely unable to wish the thief or thieves ill.  I hope somehow that something shifts in a positive way for them- some kind of change or lesson.  But that is not my business. I don't know their story and I never will.

So I ironically asked myself, "What's perfect about this?"  Not a whole heck of a lot. First I just felt disoriented and kind of stupid.  Was I sure that's where I'd parked it? Was that the light post I'd attached it to?  Then I just felt crappy. And I allowed myself to feel crappy - I even shed a brief tear of frustration and general ickiness. A little bit of "poor me." But I stuck with my plans and had a lovely lunch with a friend who was able to pick me up and drive me home too.  I had a bag full of goodies from LUSH that I'll be sharing with my retreat participants. (By the way, there's still room in the retreat if you want to check it out!) I wasn't missing anything except the bike.

I wish this story ended like the wallet story, with me turning the corner and forgetting I'd parked the bike in a completely different place, but alas, that's not the case.  However, when I got home, my sweetheart hugged me and said, "I'm so sorry this happened to you.  You need a bike - let's go get you a new one tomorrow." And we can do that.  We have enough money.  We have enough and more than enough, of everything.

So what about distortion? Well I find that my mind can sometimes go into distortion mode.  Sky is falling mode.  Interestingly, my mind is generally better in the face of minor tragedies like petty theft.  My mind's preferred subject of distortion is in day to day dealings.  It likes to distort how long something's going to take, or how hopeless everything's going to be if I've missed one day of a habit I'm trying to take up.

So next time you're dealing with a major or minor wrench in your plans, watch your mind.  Is it going into distortion mode?  Is it whipping up a giant story about how awful everything is or is going to be?  Ask yourself if you need to believe your mind, or just look around at the actual circumstances, and deal with them in the best way you know how.