The One Thing You MUST Have to Succeed at Everything.

I used to own a folk art gallery.  I represented artists who were self-taught and outside the mainstream of society in some way.

Outside the mainstream could mean they had developmental disabilities, mental health issues or even addiction issues.

But none of these things could stop them from making art.

Making art was probably the best decision they made all day.  But it seemed less of a decision and more of a compulsion.

Make art or die.

Leonard lived in an old sharecropper’s shack in rural Georgia.  He said ‘no’ to plumbing so he could say ‘yes’ to cigarettes.  He chose gambling over dental care.  He had no interest in driving even though he was miles from town.

When I went to buy his work—charming memory paintings he’d done on tin roofing material—he’d have the paintings spread out on the ground in between the fire ant hills.  The tin sizzled in the Georgia sun.  He’d painted the lines with a twig he’d snapped off a decades-old azalea bush.

He’d stand aside while I chose what I wanted, then he’d bum a ride to the Fast Times convenience store so he could cash my check.  I never had to tell him not to smoke in the car.

We sold hundreds of his paintings.

I respect how this man, problems and all, lived so far outside the mainstream of society, yet still he managed to turn his passion into a living that sustained him.

Maybe you wouldn’t think of his life as particularly sustainable.  I know I dream of something more than an old shack with holes in the floor and fire ants in the yard.

But we all have to define success and abundance for ourselves.  According to our own values.

Leonard was living his life according to his values.

He didn’t worry about what his life “should” look like to other people.

He didn’t worry about what other people thought of his choices or his art.

He just created what he was moved to create in his own unique style.

People respond when you live your values.

People supported Leonard’s dream by buying his work.  Against all logical explanation, he was able to share his work with an audience that loved it.

He did it all without facebook, without twitter, without pinterest.  Half the time he called me collect because he’d used up all the minutes on his burner phone.

He did it by doing the work, day after day.

But there’s more to his success than the fact that he kept showing up every day, twig in hand, taking persistent, continuous action.

"Women--No Smoking" by Leonard Jones
“Women–No Smoking” by Leonard Jones

Leonard was unshakable in his resolve.

He didn’t want the laborer job that other men in similar circumstances might aspire to.  He didn’t want the house, the car, the responsibility of fitting in.

He wanted to paint.

He wanted to make his living by using his talent and and indulging his passion.  Every. Single. Day.

Without that unshakable resolve, Leonard would surely be living someone else’s life on someone else’s terms.

How unshakable is your resolve?

I ask because resolve is what makes Leonard’s story so compelling.

He knew how he wanted to live and what he wanted to share with the world.  He resolved every day to make that happen.

 

Resolve is the one thing you must have to make the life of your dreams come true.

 

No wavering. 

No waffling.

No second guessing yourself or making contingency plans or telling the Universe that you’ll settle for a fraction of what you really want.

I know I settle when my resolve is weak.  My resolve is weak when I don’t really believe that I deserve what I want or that there is abundance enough in the world to flow to my dreams.

Resolve is the keystone of success, the piece that holds all the other pieces in place and keeps the whole dang thing from collapsing into a pile of rubble.

How unshakable is your resolve?

If it’s trembling a little, what do you need to do today to lock that keystone into place?

Leave a comment and tell me, on a scale of 1-10, how unshakeable is your resolve?  If it’s less than a 10, tell yourself how you’re going to get to 10 then go do one thing to move you closer.

How to Talk About Money + An Exercise for Loving Yourself

A few weeks ago, I had a Money Mindset Breakthrough Session with a client and she was in trouble.  Clinging to a cooler lid in a roiling sea of debt.  Desert island shrinking to her view as she drifted farther into the middle of the ocean.

It was bleak.  There were probably sharks.  Or giant squid.

Pardon the melodrama.

But I know how it feels to be caught in the undertow.

My story didn’t involve squid, but it did involve sleepless nights, a constant low-grade frustration and lots of complaining.

I’m not a financial adviser or a debt counselor, and if you’re in massive debt, that may be your first call before you call me.

But problems tend to stick around until they’re solved.

And if you don’t solve the underlying issues around fear, low self-worth and misguided mindset, you’ll keep swimming against the current and getting nowhere.

In my own story, I’d pay off one credit card only to max out another.  Or, worse, open one more.

Nordstrom’s almost ruined me.

I hated my job, so I’d work as little as possible to keep from going under completely.  I wouldn’t look at my bills, or my bank balances, so there were a lot of overdraft fees that made the bank happy.  And a little richer.

I’d overspend and tell myself I deserved it when I really felt like I didn’t deserve anything good and I hated myself with gusto.  It was a time of personal turmoil in my life and shopping was a coping mechanism.

It all made me feel so guilty.

Which just kept the problem alive and well.

A smack-down from the Universe.

You know how sometimes someone makes a random comment and it feels like the Universe just shook you by the shoulders and said, “Listen up, Sunshine!”

Back in the Nordstrom days, I had that experience.  I was finishing a yoga teacher training in Bellevue, Washington, and my teacher, Aadil Palkhivala, said to the group, “Quit complaining.  Never, ever complain.  About anything.”

So simple, but I felt like I’d been outed before I was ready.

I was a chronic complainer.

And, embarrassed as I was to admit it, if only to myself, I knew the Universe had singled me out and spoken through Aadil.

The Universe told me to cut it out.  Quit bitching.

If you’re revamping your money mindset, it’s so important to watch what you say about money.

What you say out loud is just a reflection of the unrelenting stream of thoughts that pass through your brain.  Thousands of them every day.

Since the circumstances of your life are your thoughts come true, what you say out loud only reinforces those circumstances.

So, watch what you say about money.

  • Talk about what you want, what you see is possible for you, your dreams and aspirations and vision for your ideal life.
  • Make a vision board if it helps to have a visual reminder of what you know is possible for you.  Look at it often.  My friend Stacey made one on PicMonkey and put it on her desktop.  She sees it every time she opens her computer.
  • Never, ever put yourself down for not having enough money or for not being more together financially.  Pull yourself up by focusing on what’s right in your life.

Speaking of focusing on what’s right, try this exercise.   It will help you learn to love yourself.

[box]HOW TO LOVE EVERY PART OF YOURSELF

Make a list of 31 things that you love about yourself. 

Your curly hair.  Your creative spirit.  Your ability to make people laugh.

Choose one thing from your list to focus on each day for a month. 

Every time you catch yourself worrying about money or beating yourself up for any reason, focus on that one thing you love about yourself.

Savor it.  Feel the love for yourself.  Deeply appreciate who you are for a moment instead of hating on yourself.

Break the destructive pattern and choose to love and take care of yourself yourself.[/box](Thanks to Lynn Grabhorn and her book, Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting, for teaching me this exercise.)

This exercise will change your life.

Taking care of your finances will flow naturally out of taking care of yourself.

  • Change your story.   In vivid detail, tell your new story of abundance.  Practice telling it to people who support you and want the best for you.  (If you’re still looking for those people, tell it to  your dog.  Your dog wants the best for you.)  Focus on what you want, rather that what you don’t want.  Give the Universe new thoughts and statements to work with.
  • Don’t blame Nordstrom’s.   It isn’t their fault.  Or the fault of the economy, or my husband, or my parents.  The moment I took responsibility for my own situation was the moment my situation started to change.
  • And of course, quit complaining.  No more bitch sessions with friends over coffee.  No more automatically looking for what’s wrong with a situation.  Give it up, now.  Be a ray of sunshine in the world.  Good things are drawn to light.

I believe that choosing to quit complaining was my first step in shifting my own money mindset.

And it helped transform the whole experience I now have with money and my consciousness around money and wealth.

Watch what you say around money.

It’s listening.

Your turn, Sunshine!  What’s one thing you love about yourself that you plan to focus on today?  Leave a comment below and let us know.

The Secret to Creating Lasting Change, Plus…Another Excuse to Follow the Fun!

I found an old journal not long ago.  It was a gratitude journal that I started as a New Year’s Resolution.  I was going to get grateful and write down all the things I was thankful for every night.

The last entry was January 9.

Nine days of gratitude and the journal stared gathering dust.  Like the rest of my resolutions that year, I’m sure.

Apparently I’m not alone.

88% of all resolutions end in failure! *

I don’t know if I feel better or worse.

It takes about 21 days to form a new habit.

At about day seven, though, the honeymoon ends.  You’re over the initial excitement of trying something new.  On Day 8 or 9,  the ruts that you know so well are singing their siren song and luring you farther away from your target.

To get through day 8-21, you’ll need some fortification.

In my Mind Money Wealth Program, I teach people the importance of creating new habits around mindset and money.  Some people need to create the daily habit of paying attention to their money.  Others need to get in the habit of marketing their business.  Still others need the habit of self-reflection and working to improve self-awareness in order to dissolve limiting beliefs.

Whatever new habits you need to create, it’s going to take willpower to make them stick.  So it’s a good idea to know how willpower works and when you’ll most need to strengthen your resolve so you can get through the gauntlet that is Day 8-21.

 

Here’s what you need to know about willpower.  And how to make use of a limited resource.

 

1.  Willpower is like a muscle.  Use it or lose it.

How many pushups can you do?  On a good day, I can drop and give you seven before I collapse red-faced on the floor.

Willpower is like a muscle.

In their book, Willpower, Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney found that willpower can get stronger in the long term with use and training.  They say, “people who exercise their willpower frequently. . .have better self-control.”

Better self control means getting through days 8-21.

So how do you train your willpower if you’re powerless over chocolate cake?  Or you simply can’t muster up the energy to work your marketing plan every day?

Train it by picking simple tasks that you can manage to practice every day.  Tasks that won’t increase your stress if you do succumb to the song of the siren.

Train for the big change by training yourself to stop cussing.  Or train yourself to sit up straight.  Or train yourself to take a deep breath before you speak.

Pick something simple to practice on a daily basis.  Watch it improve your ability to follow through with the hard tasks that create the big change in your life.  Like installing new beliefs or, my favorite, changing your mindset from one of poverty to one of prosperity.

 

2.  WARNING:  Willpower is weaker in the short term!

When it gets to metaphorical pushup number 8, and you’re tired and you’re spent, your willpower will fail you.

Willpower is both a renewable resource and a deplete-able resource and it’s most abundant in the morning when you’re refreshed and replenished.

“You only have a finite amount [of willpower] as you go through the day,” says Tierney.

In other words,  you’re going to run out at some point in your day.

Dang.  Not all news is good, here.

What to do when rations dwindle?  

First, do the hard things early when supplies are fresh.  Pull on your spandex shorts or sort your receipts or fiddle with your website first thing, while your resolve is strongest and on your side.

Second, don’t try to change all your bad habits at once.

Reconsider the New Year’s Resolution mania that grips our country.

A saner approach would be ONE new resolution each month.  Choose one thing and focus on changing that one thing only.  Put everything else you want to change in storage.

Think how far you’d go, how much could change, in just a year!

I’m an overachiever, so I’ve decided to add one good habit and take away one bad habit.  This month, I’m focused on health.  I’ve added daily rigorous exercise and I took away my bread and pasta habit.  That felt do-able, but I’m already an exerciser and a pretty careful eater.  I was already halfway there. Next month, I’ve got a big challenge planned, so I’ll probably just do the one.

See what feels right for you.  Be sure to be gentle with yourself for all the other things that are still in storage.  Deeply accept yourself.  Be patient and promise yourself that you’ll get to it when you the time is right.

 

3.  Stress and mental overload deplete willpower.

Studies show that just walking down a bustling city street can lower your resolve.

Apparently, all that stimuli and activity stresses out your cortex.  And your cortex draws energy from the same well as your willpower.

So, when you’re actively using willpower to transform yourself, as much as possible in our weird and overstimulating world, reduce input.

Limit your exposure to excess stimulation and create an environment that doesn’t drain you.

Go on a media diet (no more talk radio!).  Don’t go to the mall, watch too much TV, lollygag on the internet.  Spend time in nature (I find water especially calming).  Look to your own life and see where you get overstimulated and edgy.

Personally, I get twitchy in loud restaurants and have a really hard time keeping my hand out of the breadbasket.  So I stay away when I’m trying to conquer my carb habit.

 

4.  Which doesn’t mean you can’t have fun!

Researcher Juliano Laran found that people were more likely to complete a task when they were told the task was fun.  They got energy from believing the task was fun.

Energy equals willpower.

So as you’re creating your new habits, focus on what’s fun about the new habit and it will give you energy.

You may have to find the fun in the results you are after.  But by day 7 or 8, just when you start to struggle, you’ll most likely be seeing some results from your efforts.

Find the fun in your results.

I’ve been creating the habit of a daily writing practice.  How else will there ever be a book?  What’s stopped me in the past is not feeling I have anything to say.  But by showing up every day, by day 8, I created a respectable body of work, a first draft of a chapter.  I read back over my musings and was delighted to find nuggets that sound good and make sense.  To me, that’s fun.  And it inspires me to keep going.

I bet there is something fun in your new habit that you can use to keep drawing you forward toward your goal.

 

5.  Thinking that you have more willpower makes you have more willpower…at least in the short term.

What you think is what you get!

I’ve said it a million times on this blog, and now there’s proof.  Studies by Veronika Job and friends show that you can increase your willpower by thinking that willpower is not so limited.

If you’re facing a short-term challenge, like a bread basket, tell yourself that you have all the willpower you need and you’ll find that you can dig deep and summon more.

Just remember the reverse is also true.  Are you in the habit of saying, “I just don’t have any willpower when it comes to whatever (exercising, chocolate, buying shoes).”

If that’s you, then maybe that is a perfect place to start creating a new habit.  Tell yourself for the next 21 days, “I have all the willpower I need when it comes to shoe shopping!”

So, now that you know more about willpower, more willpower to you.  What’s your takeaway, today?  Leave a comment and tell me, what will you do to strengthen your willpower starting now.

 

*See the New Year’s Resolution Study by psychologist Richard Wiseman.

 

I was scared of a four-year old girl!

Last week I mentioned how fun it would be to cross networking events off my To Do list and never go to another one of those dreaded mixers again.

Fun for the shy part of me who has always been scared to mingle and meet new people.

We moved to Texas when I was four, and I remember being scared to say hi to the little girl who lived behind us.

I was scared of a four-year old girl!

That scared, shy little girl I was is still inside me.  I won’t say she runs my life today, but she’s definitely still inside having her say from time to time.

She was singing halleluia at the thought of no more live networking events.

But there’s another part of me that’s brave and rebellious and determined to get over myself.

That part is a personal growth taskmaster and she doesn’t let me weasel out of challenges, especially ones that make me bump up against the parts of me that might be holding me back.

She’s the one who decides when enough is enough and when it’s time to move past this or that fear.

There are lots of fears she’s helped me get over in my life.

I got over my fear of public speaking after a mortifying speech in seventh grade.  I got over my fear of needles when I realized 24 years old was too old to still be busting into tears when I had to get a shot.

I just decided not to be afraid any more.  One decision and it was over.

I wonder if getting over my shyness around strangers could be so easy?  Can I just decide that I’m through with this fear, too?

Deep-seated fears like these interfere with the glorious lives we are meant to live.

But they also make life richer and more rewarding as we face our fears and transform the energy of fear into an energy that serves to propel us to living larger in the world.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics says that energy is neither created nor destroyed, but it can be  transformed.

Transforming the energy of fear may be as easy as making a decision.  Or it may take a little more work to get over the inertia that keeps us stuck in place.

So how would you work to transform a fear like this?

What if  you suspect that it’s holding you back from creating more prosperity or attracting more money into your life and business?  I mean, if I know I can connect with people at networking events, and I know people respond well when I tell them what I do, and there are potential high-value clients RIGHT THERE, asking about my work, why wouldn’t I go?

Here’s what I know…

First, fear of promoting myself and/or my work means I’m not clear on the value I’’m providing to my clients.

This is a major roadblock to success.  And money.

It leads to:

  • undercharging.
  • being afraid to ask for the sale.
  • ineffective marketing.

It’s not really about being shy or introverted.  That’s an excuse that bypasses the bigger issue—lack of conviction that what I’m offering is beneficial to others.

Here’s a mindset shift.

I learned it from Elizabeth Purvis, founder of Goddess Business School.  It’s important to make this mindset shift as I go forward toward more prosperity as an entrepreneur—”The knowledge and skills I possess are valuable now and will grow in value over time.”

And here’s a mindset shift I figured out for myself—”I’m walking the path with my clients, and they are inspired by my own transformation.”

Choose a mindset that serves you once you identify the one that doesn’t.

Consciously changing the way you talk to yourself eventually changes the way you see yourself.

And seeing yourself as successful and as someone who inspires and adds values to people’s lives changes the way you talk to yourself.  Before you know it, you’re in an upward spiral of providing value and honoring the goodness you bring to your clients.

From there, it’s a short hop to raising your prices; knowing (deep in your marrow) that when someone buys your product or program their life is about to change for the better; and cheerfully telling everyone about what you do and how it will help them.

TRY THIS:   Every night, write down at least three examples of the value you provided in the world or the ways you valued yourself that day.  Keep track of your value so you can start changing the way you see and talk to yourself.  (From Money, A Love Story, by Kate Northrup)

Second, get over the blocks.

Find the tools and strategies that work for you and use them consistently whenever you hit a new block or a new layer of an old block you’ve been struggling with.  Some blocks, like fear of rejection, run deep and are ingrained and habitual.  Be patient as you work through them and expect them to pop up in a variety of disguises as they fight for their lives.

I know for me, fear of rejection is very much linked to the fear of promoting myself and my work.  One of its disguises is procrastination.  Another is perfectionism, as in, “I can’t tell anyone about it till it’s perfect and I have all the answers.”

Time to get over it and put it out there.  (It will never be as perfect as you want!)

TRY THIS:

1.  EFT, or Emotional Freedom Technique.  Also known as tapping, I’ve been exploring this technique lately because of its promise of near-instant gratification.  Who doesn’t want that?

Consistency is key.  And being willing to explore.  And I’m finding the process does take some dedicated time because…layers.  Once you start, you’re sure to find more hidden layers that need addressing.  So, not really instant.  But I can vouch for it’s effectiveness.

A great first resource is Nick Ortner’s The Tapping Solution.  For stubborn blocks, thetappingsolution.com can help you find a practitioner in your area.

2.  Look to past success to overcome limiting beliefs.

Explore your past and see where you’ve succeeded in similar situations.  Or where you’ve felt the fear and done it anyway.  How did you feel after you faced your fear?  How did you feel after you succeeded in a similar situation?

I know I’ve had a blast at some networking events and I’ve also made lasting connections and signed up perfect clients.  Those are the moments to remember.  Not the awkward parties in college or sitting alone at lunch in the eighth grade.

Tap into that feeling of success and power and work to expand it.  Visualize yourself doing the thing that scares you, walking into a crowded networking event, and generate those feelings of success and fearlessness.  Connect that feeling to the scary event and watch the fear melt away.  Have faith and be consistent.  It will begin to soften and melt.

3.  Assume the position.

Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist who gave a TED talk about power posing before a stressful situation and it’s positive effect on your performance.  Think Wonder Woman—wide stance, hands on hips, steady gaze.

Assume the position for two minutes before giving a speech or entering a party or doing whatever scares you.  Be the Wonder Woman of your own life.  Rock the tiara!  (Patriotic bathing suit not necessary.)

Which brings me back to that little girl I was afraid to say hi to when I was four.  We eventually became the best of friends.  Inseparable, really, until I moved to the next neighborhood.  Then inseparable again when we got older and passed each other on our bicycles one day.  While we didn’t play Wonder Woman as kids, we did choreograph roller skating routines to bad music in her garage.  I remember one song we skated to in particular…“I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar!”

I hope these tools help you start working on dissolving your own blocks, whatever they are.  As I said, the key is being willing to explore and peel back the layers.  It’s rarely as scary as you think it’s going to be, but get help if you get stuck.  Even the best athletes need coaches.  An extra pair of eyes and ears to identify the problem areas and offer tried and true tools for improvement.  Keep going.  You’re so close I bet you can taste it.

Be sure to leave a comment.  How do you provide value to the world and what is your new mindset statement that you plan to affirm going forward?

And of course, let me know if you need coaching through your blocks.  I’m here to help!