1. Embrace discomfort. The best paths in life aren’t necessarily the easiest – with rocks in your shoes and sand in your hair, you’ll be stronger than ever when you come to your destination. Be prepared for challenges and know, deep in your heart, that you will overcome. As a runner, I think I most identify with this when I approach running up hills. Thinking of hills as a challenge to overcome and feeling the success I will feel when I’ve moved through what I thought was impossible, gives me confidence in everything I do.
2. Buck the norm. Identify cultural stereotypes you’re playing into and decide if they actually work for you or not. If they don’t (and they probably don’t), let them go. Being a perfectionist, I have learned that this is so much easier said than done. No one loves a perfectly wrapped up package more than I do. Luckily, we live in an imperfect world and nothing is as perfect as it seems.. when my Lil’ Miss Perfect inner critic is all fired up, a healthy dose of reality from a cherished friend, a loved family member, or a compassionate coach can really help fend off an attack of Keeping up with the Jones’.
3. Face your fears. Take the time to dig deep and find out what you are really, really afraid of. The only way to release yourself from the icy grip of fear is to face what terrifies you. You are brave! One of my biggest fears is being alone. I’ve learned to overcome that fear by prioritizing spending time with myself. If I can find ease, comfort and even joy in hanging out with me, it reassures me how great I am to be around and that others will likely want to be with me too!
4. Step into power. Identify one thing in your life that makes you feel powerful and on top of the world. Do that thing as often as possible. Being of service and being a source of light in the world is what makes me shine – I feel oh-so-alive when I’m connecting with others and helping them move forward in life or business. Luckily, I have built my career on these powerful, life-affirming activities – now, I make my living helping others every day. #winning!
5. Build the plane as you fly it. As a creative or entrepreneur, sometimes you’ve got to be able take steps without a clear path in front of you. You have to get scrappy and make up your next move on the fly. On the days where I can’t see an inch in front of my own face, I break things down into tiny baby steps and shuffle forward. I pay my taxes, make lists and mark off accomplishments; I turn to my faith knowing that outside of my view the universe is working its magic on my behalf.
6. Find something to believe in. Whether its a book, science, massage, intuitive healing, crystals, art, dance, or Archie comics, it doesn’t matter. Just find something to believe and believe in. Turning to a belief in times of uncertainty isn’t something that has come easy for me. Let’s be real – its still not easy. My internal pessimist loves to tell me to give up when things get really hard. When all seems dark, my morning rituals and daily practices help me return to optimism. Visual reminders like quotes, photos, plants, and the little altars I set up in my home, keep me coming back to my connection to something bigger.
7. Spend time alone. Yes, even if you have a thousand things to do at work and the dishes aren’t done and you need to go to the gym and your kids are flipping out. Tell yourself to grab some quiet me time. Taking walks is one way I’ve found to be able to connect with myself. A short 10 or 20 minute stroll lends itself to a change in perspective, but what’s even better is when I take my inner artist on a date – this always leads me back to my more creative, optimistic, playful self. I set out on a path with no plans other than having fun for 2 hours. Sometimes I find myself at a yoga class, other times I find myself at a store buying new paints, or wandering a furniture store day-dreaming about what my next home will look (and feel) like!
8. Practice practicing. Start a physical activity or practice of some kind. Yoga, dance, Melt Method, running, hiking, even parkour. Just get moving. Yoga has become my go-to practice. I started with a home practice a number of years ago and find that even 15 minutes of slowing down daily can create big shifts. There are days when I spend those 15 minutes thinking of the 100 other things I need to do that day, but that’s why It’s called a practice. Right?
9. Go outside. Walk, stand, sit, cry, breathe, do whatever you have to do just Go. Out. Side. On the days that I am the most spun out, nothing grounds me like being outside (on the ground). When the world is spinning, I can set my gaze on the trees, the clouds, the sky and the world around me, and slowly start to unwind the tangled mess that’s happening in my mind. With each breath, I take note of what I see, feel, hear, smell around me, and I find my way back to a calmer, wiser and more peaceful version of myself.
10. Give yourself credit. You have so much strength, and so many unique talents – there is only one you on the planet, and the world needs you. Once you find the intersection between what you do really well, and what you love, live fully in that space of abundance. Sounds easy doesn’t it? It is so not. I’ve had days filled with thoughts that I’m certainly not worthy of anything near greatness. Fortunately, I’ve been able to surround myself with enough cheerleaders, coaches, believers and optimists to help me talk myself out of the self doubt and negativity of self-loathing when it arises and gets in the way of self acceptance and self love.
11. Say Thank You. The universe has opened up to provide you with everything you need, and now it’s time to accept and be grateful. Gratitude is one of the things that keeps us going in the most challenging of times. Thank you is so easy to say, isn’t it? Thanks for that coffee. Thanks for a great meeting. But what about really saying thank you? Thank you for the people I love so much in my life. Thank you for the hugs that make my day. Thank for you for friendships that make life worth living. Thank you for the courage to do something that makes me feel so fucking alive. Thank you for breath that saves me when I don’t know how I’m going to go on living for one more second in this cruel and scary world. Thank you for the unexplainable and serendipitous blessings that come into my life at exactly the right moment. For the lows that lead to the highs that lead to the probing that lead to greater awakening and deeper understanding. For the music that changes my day. For the return of optimism. For family. For love. For tears. For joy. For learning. For the breeze. For laughter. For connection. For hope. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.