Archive For May 29, 2014

The Myth of Happiness

Many of us have been believing in a lie. We’ve bought into the myth that happiness is something we achieve when everything in our life finally looks the way we’ve been thinking it should. Cue the relationship, ring, job, country house, wardrobe, vacations, beauty products, weight loss. But here’s the challenge: These things alone don’t create lasting happiness, so happiness becomes this elusive thing that we desire but don’t know how to achieve.

The truth is that happiness is not circumstantial. And this is really good news. It means we don’t have to wait for everything to be perfect, nor do we have to control anything outside of ourselves in order to feel a certain way. Becoming aware of this truth is a total game-changer, because it means we can choose happiness in this moment. And something beautiful happens when we do this: When we feel happy first, our outward experience begins to shift in ways we’d only dreamed of.

In this article, I’ll discuss how people can reset their attitude toward happiness and share three tips for cultivating happiness from the inside, out.

Searching for Happiness in all the Wrong Places
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we will be happy as soon as everything in our lives is exactly the way we want it to be—and that the solution to happiness is that we must keep working harder to control these external situations in order to make them “right.” But when we make things happen (lose the weight, get the relationship, get the raise) in a condition in which we are needing them to fill us up, validate us, or make us feel whole and complete, these changes won’t be sustainable. We might even realize these outward things don’t make us happy after all.

In reality, self-love is the baseline of happiness. When we live from a pure space of self-love, we are able to achieve sustainable happiness, because our internal feelings of abundance will reflect back to us in the form of beautiful relationships, purpose-driven work, and financial freedom. In short, self-love puts us on the fast track to healing. Our work is to clear out our fearful perceptions and shift them back to a loving perspective on life, which reveals our perfection and wholeness.

We don’t need to be fixed and nothing is wrong with us—these are just the stories we’ve been telling ourselves. When we let go of our limiting beliefs, we can finally experience freedom, happiness, and our highest potential.

 

Learning to Feel Happy Within
Here, I share three practical ways to cultivate more happiness within and create a life beyond your wildest dreams.

1. Connect with Yourself
Slow down and get quiet enough to listen to your inner guide (a.k.a your intuition or your truth), and spend less time listening to other people’s opinions or the loud, critical voice inside your own mind (which often manifests as racing thoughts or 3a.m. panic). One of the best practices for cultivating the ability to hear your inner guiding system is meditation. If finding the time to sit quietly is not realistic at the moment, an even simpler life-changing practice is to make daily mundane activities—such as brushing our teeth or standing in line at the grocery store—a time for quiet reflection. In these moments, ask for guidance and listen for some clear answers.

When we flex our spiritual muscle and connect with ourselves, it gives us access to an inner abundance of wisdom and knowledge (you’ll recognize it as a quiet, calm knowing voice). This inner source of wisdom will always guide us to our best right actions.

2. Set an Intention to Be Happy
Despite what we may have been taught, happiness is as simple as just choosing to be happy. When we truly realize this—that happiness is a choice—we instantly empower ourselves in any situation, whether it’s a relationship, job, or pattern of thinking that’s been creating judgments, worry, doubt, fear, or confusion. The moment we choose to perceive things differently by choosing a loving perception of ourselves, others, and our circumstances, we not only strengthen our capacity to feel happy—we also open ourselves up to limitless possibilities where there once was seemingly no solution. A creative flow reveals itself, and we’re able to experience more ease and less struggle sometimes instantly.

This is a lifelong practice, because when we’re not monitoring our thoughts, they have a tendency of veering back into fear and worry. One of the simplest and most profound ways we can align with loving perceptions each day is to practice setting an intention every morning when we wake up. This intention can be very simple: Just say to yourself, I choose happiness—and feel it.

3. Surrender
Most of us don’t know what “surrender” means. It’s the opposite of the way many of us operate, which is by attempting to control outcomes and situations and to make things happen. In contrast, surrender occurs when we release our need to control things, and instead choose to place a higher level of trust and faith in the process of life.

When we tap into this relaxed energy, we allow that which we desire to flow to us in a miraculous way. The job, relationship, or whatever we are envisioning and desiring for our lives is all on its way—and when we surrender our plans for the timeline and the form in which we think it should arrive, we allow an even bigger and better outcome to take place. When we are not fearfully boxing ourselves in, we are able to fearlessly say YES to limitless opportunities for joy to enter our lives.

Being Happy—The Takeaway
By connecting with ourselves, setting intentions to be happy, and surrendering to the natural flow of life, we can breathe a sigh of relief, trusting and knowing that everything is unfolding in perfect, divine timing—and the only work we need to do is to get out of our own way and let life happen. Because happiness is our birthright.

Jennifer Kass is a holistic happiness coach and spiritual mentor. She is a writer and speaker and works in her one-on-one coaching programs. The views expressed herein are hers and hers alone. To learn more about Jennifer, visit .

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What Makes You Happy

More than 10 years ago, I remember having a conversation with my sister. She was in her 20’s and trying to figure out what to do with her life. I remember thinking about what I had learned about finding my path in life and saying to her that, “All you really need to do is what makes you the happiest.”

This advice can sound cliche but in truth it is all we really need to do and if we did it we would find that success and fulfillment are ours.

So, what really makes you happy?

Take a moment right now and look at the parts of your life that you are really happy with. The things you love, activities you love, parts of your work that you love. Write them all down.

Ask yourself if you would like more of them. If the answer is yes, how can you take one step in the direction of having more of them in your life.

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Being Smart Doesn’t Solve This

I work with clients a lot of time on their core wounds. Because when people are more aware of these wounds they are better able to create the lives that they really want. However, when you are smart, (like my clients always are) it is that much harder to see where your deepest resistance is because you can so often convince others that it is not where they are seeing it.

We develop our entire lives–our work, our relationships– in ways that stop us from knowing this tender part of ourselves that we are protecting with our very deep resistance.

Then when a part of our life stops working, when we are faced with ourselves in the form of another person or situation, we fight to keep the protection in place.

Those of us that have done a lot of personal development work might have sophisticated ways to protect ourselves. Those who have not done this kind of work will have a little less tact but in the end we are all doing the same thing.

We are protecting this precious and tender part of ourselves. A part that was at one point not cared for in the way it could have been cared for.

I wish I had a “solution” to this particular aspect of the human experience but I don’t. And really, that is not what it is about. This deepest resistance of ours is our ally in helping us unfold our lives. The challenges it creates are exactly where we need to keep looking to become our deepest and fullest selves.

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Social Media Still Works

Do the words social media terrify you? Many people view social media as time consuming, difficult to follow or understand, and pointless. Social media can hinder your business, if not done correctly, but it can also grow your business if you know how to use it.

Successful social media marketing takes dedication, planning and a few simple tips.

1. Know your audience: It is important to know not only who your audience is but what they like. If your audience isn’t engaging with you then social media isn’t helping build your business. Does your audience need daily motivational tips? Do visuals help your audience understand your product? Don’t be afraid to take the time to test ideas and find out what your audience reacts to best.

2. Pre-schedule your posts: You have to be willing to take the time to think about and plan your posts. I use HootSuite to pre-post information each day. You can set the time and date for each post and the networks you would like your information to post to. Set it up for 1 day at a time or a week at a time, it’s your choice. It is also important to know what time your audience responds best to. Test out a few times and analyze your stats on what times work best with your audience. I usually post 2-3 times a day at 11am, 4pm and 7 pm.

3. Follow or favorite people retweeting you: Your followers want recognition from you. Take time each week to acknowledge your new followers and those that have retweeted you. This helps build your audience. A simple shout out can go a long way.

4. Variety with your posts: Don’t tweet or post the same thing every time. I like to share motivational quotes, pictures in the office or at events, ask pool questions, and promote events and products. Sometimes a short quote is a nice way to motivate your followers for the week. A picture allows your audience to see what is going on with your business. A poll question allows people to engage with each other and with you. Finally, it’s always important to promote your business and what you have to offer.

Taking the time to implement these 4 tips could change your business. Start small and find out what works best for you. You may have to begin with posting once a day or simply promoting your products. Find a rhythm that works best for your business and go from there.

About the Author: Suzanne Evans owner and founder of Suzanne Evans Coaching, LLC, is the tell-it-like-it-is, no fluff boss of business building. She supports, coaches, and teaches over 30,000 women enrolled in her wealth and business building programs. Having surpassed the seven figure mark herself in just over three years, she’s coached her private clients to total revenues exceeding 8 million dollars. In 2011, she launched her Global Impact Project, a not for profit serving women worldwide in education, entrepreneurship, and equality.

Why Your Attitude is Everything

I generally start my workshops and seminars by asking a fundamental question: What attitude did you bring into this meeting? Often, this brings puzzled looks. In truth, people generally don’t have a high level of attitude awareness. They’ll know if they are hungry or if their feet hurt, but they usually don’t have a good handle on their attitude. That is a mistake because attitude is everything. It governs the way you perceive the world and the way the world perceives you.

We all have a choice. We can choose an inner dialogue of self-encouragement and self-motivation, or we can choose one of self-defeat and self-pity. It’s a power we all have. Each of us encounters hard times, hurt feelings, heartache, and physical and emotional pain. The key is to realize it’s not what happens to you that matters; it’s how you choose to respond.

Your mind is a computer that can be programmed. You can choose whether the software installed is productive or unproductive. Your inner dialogue is the software that programs your attitude, which determines how you present yourself to the world around you. You have control over the programming. Whatever you put into it is reflected in what comes out.

Many of us have behavior patterns today that were programmed into our brains at a very tender age. The information that was recorded by our brains could have been completely inaccurate or cruel. The sad reality of life is that we will continue to hear negative information, but we don’t have to program it into our brains.

The loudest and most influential voice you hear is your own inner voice, your selfcritic. It can work for or against you, depending on the messages you allow. It can be optimistic or pessimistic. It can wear you down or cheer you on. You control the sender and the receiver, but only if you consciously take responsibility for and control over your inner conversation.

Habitual bad attitudes are often the product of past experiences and events. Common causes include low self-esteem, stress, fear, resentment, anger and an inability to handle change. It takes serious work to examine the roots of a harmful attitude, but the rewards of ridding ourselves of this heavy baggage can last a lifetime.

Here are 10 strategies from my attitude tool kit to improve your attitude:

  1. Self-Coaching Through Affirmations Affirmations repeated several times each day, every day, serve to reprogram your subconscious with positive thinking. An affirmation is made up of words charged with power, conviction and faith. You send a positive response to your subconscious, which accepts whatever you tell it. When done properly, this triggers positive feelings that, in turn, drive action.
  2. Self-Motivation Through Discovering Your Motives Discover what motivates you—what incites you to take action to change your life. Basic motives include love, self-preservation, anger, financial gain and fear. Self-motivation requires enthusiasm, a positive outlook, a positive physiology (walk faster, smile, sit up), and a belief in yourself and your God-given potential.
  3. The Power of Visualization Studies of the psychology of peak performance have found that most great athletes, surgeons, engineers and artists use affirmations and visualizations either consciously or subconsciously to enhance and focus their skills. Nelson Mandela has written extensively on how visualization helped him maintain a positive attitude while being imprisoned for 27 years. “I thought continually of the day when I would walk free. I fantasized about what I would like to do,” he wrote in his autobiography. Visualization works well to improve attitude.
  4. Attitude Talk for Positive Internal Dialogue Attitude talk is a way to override your past negative programming by erasing or replacing it with a conscious, positive internal voice that helps you face new directions. Your internal conversation—that little voice you listen to all day long—acts like a seed in that it programs your brain and affects your behavior. Take a closer look at what you are saying to yourself.
  5. The Power of Words Once released to the universe, our words cannot be taken back. Learn the concept of WOW—watch our words. What we speak reflects what is already in our hearts based upon all the things we have come to believe about ourselves. If we find ourselves speaking judgmental and disparaging things about our circumstances or those around us, we know the condition of our hearts needs to change. You can create a direct path to success by what you say.
  6. The Power in a Positive Greeting When people ask me how I am doing, I say, “Super-fantastic.” Most people enjoy working and living with others who try to live life for what it is—a beautiful gift.
  7. Enthusiasm: Vital Tool for Staying Motivated Enthusiasm is to attitude what breathing is to life. Enthusiasm enables you to apply your gifts more effectively. It’s the burning desire that communicates commitment, determination and spirit. Enthusiasm means putting yourself in motion. It’s an internal spirit that speaks through your actions from your commitment and your belief in what you are doing. It is one of the most empowering and attractive characteristics you can have.
  8. Connecting to Your Spiritual Empowerment The ultimate level of human need extends into the spiritual realm. Just as we feed our bodies in response to our primary need to survive physically, we need to feed our spirit because we are spiritual beings. Many people find powerful and positive motivation in their faith. I happen to be one of them.
  9. Lighten Up Your Life with Humor Humor is a powerful motivator. The more humor and laughter in your life, the less stress you’ll have, which means more positive energy to help you put your attitude into action. There are also health benefits to lightening up.
  10. Exercising Will Help Keep You Motivated One of the best ways to move to a more positive and motivated frame of mind is to exercise. A regular exercise routine can provide relatively quick positive feedback in the form of weight loss, muscle development and a sense of doing something positive for yourself.

Seek your personal and professional success by using the tools in this attitude tool kit. It is no secret that life seems to reward us most when we approach the world with a positive attitude.

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Leadership Skills: Decisions, Decisions

Leaders need to be decisive and stay tenaciously on track. Fundamentally this means maintaining a persistent focus on their goals as much as possible and doing all that they can to motivate others. The list below describes what many of the most decisive and persistent leaders do in practice to achieve this:

  1. Conveys a sense of urgency in achieving the desired results; shows others how to act quickly and responsively.
  2. Demonstrates clear purpose, enthusiasm and commitment to own goals. Directs his or her attention fully on the task; minimizes distractions; focuses on results, not just activities and long hours.
  3. Doesn’t give up easily, even when his/her work is not utilized, or fully adopted and continues to produce and thrive even when his/her ideas are met with resistance and/or disinterest.
  4. Encourages employees to set ambitious goals; rewards efforts and achievements; gives credit where credit is due; serves as an example to others in personal performance terms.
  5. Handles multiple projects effectively; isn’t upset by too many things up-in-the-air; shifts gears quickly and comfortably.
  6. Has a broad perspective on what is important; participates in setting own personal goals.
  7. Inspires others through own drive and determination to meet ambitious goals and objectives; Mobilizes people to accept tough challenges willingly.
  8. Is able to effectively manage time to set and achieve demanding deadlines; projects a sense of urgency and brings issues and projects to closure.
  9. Is not easily discouraged by lack of progress; tries another tactic cheerfully and willingly.
  10. Is persistent and dogged about meeting deadlines, even when faced with unexpected obstacles; follows through with work to completion; doesn’t let things drop.
  11. Maneuvers well around roadblocks in a complex, ever-changing environment. Pursues everything with energy, drive, and a need to finish; perseveres in the face of adversity.
  12. Pursues opportunities for self-improvement on a continuous basis.
  13. Requests assignments that will build his/her skills and knowledge base.
  14. Sets definite time-frames for task and project completion and holds him/herself and subordinates accountable for deadlines.
  15. Takes the initiative to push beyond what is expected; works hard to improve performance and test own limits.
  16. Understands how the organization functions and can get things done through formal channels as well as informal networks.
  17. Understands that people are driven by different factors (i.e., challenge, money, doing well, etc.); knows how to look for that motivation and then applies appropriate motivators differentially.
  18. Works effectively in ambiguous situations; steps forward to establish a structure; seeks out unstructured situations as opportunities to demonstrate leadership.

reblogged from readytomanage.com

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The Adventure That Is Your Business

One of the things that I love about entrepreneurship is that it is a continual adventure. You never know what is around the next corner. Even when you think that you have it figured out the game changes.

It is not that it is any different than the rest of life. It is just a focused experience.

One of the things that happens is that we forget to see it as an adventure and we expect it to work out or get figured out or some other final state of order and control. This will never be the case. But if we embrace the journey and try to have some fun along the way we will have some wonderful experiences.

Right, but how do you do that when it seems like it is more of an ordeal than an exciting journey?

Well, first start where it is easy. Are you enjoying yourself when things are good?

As cliché as it sounds, have you stopped and smelled the flowers? What do you really care about and why? What makes you laugh and cry and think it is all worth it?

Then when things are a little more intense and the pressure is on, you can try not to label it negatively try instead to see what is happening as a challenge or even a game. If you can play with the events that come your way bad, good or indifferent they will be much easier to navigate.

Take a moment and brainstorms some ways that you can learn to embrace the adventure that is your life.

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5 Ways To Give Yourself A Confidence Boost

Most people agree that self-confidence is one of the most important factors in how well we do in life.

We are born with perfect self-confidence, but that is eroded by many factors as we grow up.

Instead of focusing on the things that drag down our confidence, it is important to remember the things that boost it. Whether we are going to a job interview, a first date, giving a speech, or just getting through the day, there are some basic ways that we can give ourselves that extra boost of confidence that will win the day:

1. Focus On Wins
Have reminders of your achievements in full view so you can see them every night before going to bed and every morning when you wake up. They can be trophies, awards achieved, or anything that you are proud of. If you have no visible record, write down at least five things you are proud having achieved and post them by the mirror in your bathroom and on the wall in your workplace.

2. Remember What You Are Proud Of
List all the things you are proud of. What can you put on your résumé? What did you do that took courage? Perhaps you moved away from your family, struck out on your own, or left an abusive relationship. Things that others would be afraid of doing, but you did them. How about the people you helped? Or maybe things you didn’t do, like say negative things about someone when everyone else was. Have you gone out of your way to help someone, when others might not have?

List these things and read them whenever you face a situation where you will need all your confidence.

3. Always Give Your Best
Give your best in all situations. The outcome may not be what you wanted, but you will come away feeling good about yourself–every time you do you will come away a stronger person. Stand up for what you believe in and what is right. Defend someone who is weaker, someone who is being bullied, or someone being treated unfairly. Resist the urge to go along just to get along. Be true to yourself and you will respect yourself and earn respect from those that matter.

4. Just Do It
We all are afraid of doing unfamiliar things for the first time, but those who succeed do things they have a fear of doing. Get into the habit of pushing your comfort zone and doing things you are a little bit frightened to do. Make a list of something every week and every month. They don’t have to be huge but require some courage for you to do.

Try taking a dancing class, going to a movie alone, or starting a conversation with a stranger. See how it makes you feel after. Keep track of these things on a calendar. Review them every so often, or before that big date, interview, or event that is going to demand all the confidence you can muster.

5. Keep Building Your Wins
Don’t get into comparing your win with that of others. Your achievement is as important as anyone else’s.

Only share what you are doing with those that totally support you. Confidence builds upon itself, and the more you think you can do, the more you will attempt and be successful at. Keep adding to your win list and watch yourself soar.

reblogged from fastcompany.com

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Get Out Of Your Head!

Do you have a continual stream of thoughts negative or otherwise running through your mind at all times? Most people do if they have not taking the time to do something about it.

It is a symptom of our times and our culture. We are taught and encouraged to make all our decisions from our head and because of this our mind does what it is best at – it comes up with a million different options that often keep us ping-ponging back and forth and getting no where. So, what can we do about it? Here are 3 steps you can take:

Observation: One of the problems can be that we are not even aware that we are thinking all the time! This is one of the functions of meditation. If you are not into meditation take 5 minutes to just focus on your thoughts.

Getting Active: Being physically active helps us get out of our heads and to start to feel what is going on below our neck.

Reframing: Once you are in touch with your thoughts, you will want to work with them. So, when you come across a persistent negative thought you can work to reframe it. Reframing is changing it from a negative to a positive thought and practicing thinking and believing that new positive thought.

These three tips will start you on the road to getting out of your head. However, there are emotional reasons why we stay in our head. So very often if you are living from your head you need to explore and resolve these emotional issues so that they do not push you into your head in order to avoid them. This is a good place for you to get some help. Guidance will help you move more quickly through the challenging stuff.

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