Let’s get real. I usually respond, “No” (super politely) when asked to switch my routine (also known as “take a break” or as some people call it – “vacation.”)
So when I was invited to Cuba with one of my best friends, the no was literally about to come out. Because the last time I left the country to go to London (on a second date), I came back and my mom died a week later. This most horrific moment of my life and my fear wanted me to add a “hell” with that no – a big ol’ “Hell No!”
But instead, I said yes. Even up until the night before as I packed my bags, I was dress rehearsing every possible disaster that could happen.
What if my dog died?
What if some of my clients wouldn’t like me being gone for a week?
What if my boyfriend isn’t here when I get back?
What if Gram dies?
What if I don’t have the proper sun protection hat and get another questionable sun mark?
What if my sunscreen explodes in my bag and destroys all the expensive clothes I bought?
[Feel free to insert any other disaster because I’m sure I thought it.]
Disaster did not happen. Instead, I fell in love – with Cuba, that is. These are a few amazing moments but most importantly I want to share that by choosing to live in fear, I was limiting my life.
I never thought I would say this but it is actually selfish to make your life ((so)) important that there is no time to stop, power down, and recharge.
I used to see this quote and think I knew exactly what it meant. “Of course,” I would think as I grew up in a home where it was indeed selfish to put yourself first. Now José was referring to his experiences – first hand – of watching a government rob his beloved country of Cuba.
But for our DiStyle learning, it applies to this idea of self-care for sure. Now let’s look at something else José Martí said…
And that is damn straight. We are so powerful and capable of magnificent things.
This happens when we believe in ourselves, commit (and recommit) and love ourselves.
Often, we rob ourselves blind when we don’t love ourselves – and I am not into theft, ok? Not loving yourself, second guessing, judgment, making excuses, and criticizing more than doing is all grand larceny in my book.
Instead, make time to:
- Do the things you always avoid. It can be as simple as making your bed in the morning or as extensive as leaving that job to travel and do something more meaningful to you.
- Stand up for what you need to be happier. Living life as a victim and complaining more than doing will not create your joy.
And while José Martí is considered one of the great turn-of-the-century Latin American intellectuals, putting any thought into action is where it’s at.
So what will you make time for? What change will become possible?
Go forth and do.
Check out a few of my favorite moments from Cuba…
I mean that’s it. The above image says it all. We could just call it a day, right? And just be like – ok, stop doing the stuff that ain’t good for ya.’ [insert peace sign]
But we are humans. And in my 15+ years as a coach, here’s what I absolutely know to be true…
Humans tackle change – successfully – using two key ideas:
- Awareness – Let’s say you tend to really get down on yourself – endless self-criticism and guilt setting in after a meltdown with your kids or an audition that was less than Oscar worthy. You gotta’ know your patterns, your mind tricks – and the things that keep you stuck. Knowing is great. It’s fantastic, in fact, because it’s the first step. But it isn’t the only step – meaning you can’t just hang around saying, “Well, that’s how I am – I go straight to guilt.” Why? Because we don’t get to change this way. Enter idea #2…
- Action – this is where we take all we know about ourselves and we give take tiny steps forward – towards change. Things like having specific phrases to tell yourself when you feel the guilt creep in or having that go-to friend on speed dial after the audition. Whatever your actions are, you have to define them and DO them or else nothing actually changes.
You with me?
This is how we deal with fear – while always remembering to be kind and compassionate with ourselves and others. Because change may not happen right away. It takes time and practice. And fear tends to have no patience for progress.
We also have to understand that we aren’t after eliminating fear. In fact, it’s a waste of time.
Enter the great Elizabeth Gilbert (perhaps you’ve heard of her?) who wrote an incredible letter to fear. (Check the entire letter out in her book, Big Magic.)
Here’s my favorite part…
She acknowledges that fear is going to want to stick around – it may never actually leave – but you can certainly quiet it.
Acknowledge him. Great. If he’s around, chances are you are going after something you truly want.
I’m ((so)) into this because I spend a lot of time helping clients understand that compassion is key and extends to everything in your life – even fear.
But how do we actually get to this place where fear is working for you? Where he’s in the car but he ain’t driving and he’s mute?
That’s why I’ve come up with 3 steps…
- Identify Your Fear – what’s he look like in your life? How does he dress? And where does he show up? Write down the top 3 places where fear creeps into your life. When you name it, you begin to call fear out. He can’t hide anymore. (This goes along with Awareness.)
- Create Your Map – the map is your Action Plan. Decide the things you can do instead of letting fear drive. Maybe it’s finally getting your online profile together and getting back out in the dating game? Is it getting to 3 auditions this month or that tap class you keep wanting to take? Write those down, too. Don’t forget the fun stuff – coffee dates with friends, treating yourself to a manicure, etc. Actions keep us motivated and accountable.
- Forgive Yourself – there’s a popular phrase that says, “Faith over fear.” I love this! But I’ll add to it and say, forgiveness over fear. This means that you might miss that date night with your husband one week. Or only make it to 2 auditions. And that’s ok. Remember the gentle and compassionate idea. Constantly forgive and wake up the next day with a clean slate. So, write this down, too. Write “Forgiveness over Fear” on your desk, in your planner – get a tattoo of it – whatever you have to do to stay gentle with yourself.
I guarantee if you start doing these 3 things, fear will get quieter and quieter. I mean it’s kind of what I do every week for my clients so I’m tellin ya’ it’s possible.
Remember, what you allow will continue. So let’s decide to let action continue and just see how it goes. You with me? Let’s do this thing.
I have a ton of off-the-charts successful clients, awards out the wazoo, getting into the best schools, landing that dream job.
But when life goes south – they are at a loss. And that’s when I realized we have to do better for the next generation.
We must raise a generation that can cope.
Let me break it down like this…
The Beatles told us, “All you need is love…” True. But – John and the gang – how do we actually do that?
By making love actionable with a serious dose of empathy (for ourselves and others).
My families that focus on more empathy and less over functioning for the child thrive.
Here’s what empathy looks like (according to my girl Brené Brown)…
- I am in it with you.
- I am not here to fix you
- I am not here to feel it for you.
- I am here to feel it with you and let you know you’re not alone.
I love Brené. Her course on Imperfect Parenting is stellar. Empathy creates belonging and acceptance: a foundation for raising a child who can cope.
Those who can cope live happier lives.
Now if you say to your crying teen, “I am with you, I am not here to fix you …” they might think you’re nutso. (And no orchestration will underscore your dialogue.)
Do these 3 things when that happens…
- Be with them in the struggle – Silence parents. Just be present, not a think tank – just yet.
- Stomp on your impulse to fix it. Your impulse to fix is all about you. (Email me, I’m happy to explain it.)
- Nod in understanding. A statement like, “That is hard honey” and let them talk can mean more than 28 strategies. You have to learn how to manage your pain when seeing them in pain.
So let’s try a new spin on the Beatles classic, shall we?
“All you need is love and empathy
All you need is love and empathy
All you need is love, love, empathy is all you need.”
My lyrics might not sell a million records but it can change your child’s life (and your own) which I think might just be a tad more important.
Try it out and let me know how it goes.
I was never proud of myself unless something stellar would happen. Then I’d feel on top of the world for a few days. And then back to feeling sh*tty with the success amnesia.
And what I realized is that worthiness can be fleeting – vulnerable, if you will – if it isn’t cultivated before the win.
Think of it like this…
joy + pride + hope + connection = worthiness
Take Gwyneth Paltrow, for example. She wins the Oscar and hides out. Now I’m not best friends with Gwyneth, but I have a hunch it’s because she didn’t feel worthy of this prize – the win brought up fraudulent feelings (even though we know she was so worthy).
Have you ever achieved what you wanted and not felt worthy?
Instead, you spent more time waiting for the shoe to drop than you did enjoying the win. Well, it’s not your fault because this is one of life’s major misconceptions.
I will be worthy when I achieve [insert achievement here]. This is wrong. So wrong!
Worthiness must be cultivated before the success and every day after. Many of my clients come to me wanting to do something extraordinary.
Some will say, “Yeah, I want to be famous. I won’t deny that.” As a coach, I can Google translate: Fame makes us feel safer – like nothing will be taken away. To me fame is code for: my client really wants an assured level of acceptance and belonging. But what I know is that acceptance and belonging do NOT equal fame.
acceptance and belonging = worthiness
We all want self-worth. We just don’t know it because it’s not as sexy of a sell.
No one grows up and says, “You know all I want to do is be worthy in life.” Even little kids start out wanting success.
Here’s the truth, I know so many wildly successful and madly miserable people. It’s heartbreaking. And it all goes back to a lack of worthiness and belonging.
So how can you get started on this in your own life?
Here are 2 key steps…
- Accept Yourself More – notice where the inner critic in your head refutes a compliment. Accept the compliment today. Also accept that at this moment – at this weight, job choice, time of day, etc. – you are doing your best.
- Belong – who is the one person you know you are accepted by – warts and all? Tell them (and I mean actually pick up the phone, write a note, or grab a coffee), “Thank you for just accepting me as I am.” Connect to that feeling of belonging and know that you can choose to find and count on the people that make you part of the whole.
Here’s to consciously creating our success and happiness before the Oscar win or promotion. Happiness comes when you can enjoy the ride – the accomplishments are secondary.
Quick – answer yes or no….
Do you show up? Do you dive in? Do you stay at it?
My answers used to be all no!
The truth is, my inner struggle could reason me out of…
Showing up: I wasn’t ready. I didn’t like the avenues available to me to show up in.
Dive in: I was more of a sidelines gal. Ya’ know – staying in my coverup and commenting. I most certainly never really got in the “pool” – just dunked up to my waist here and there.
Stay at it: No, I would switch to something more “fun” or ruminate rather than rinse and repeat.
Now is different but only because I am different.
Here is what I did:
- Spot the ways you cope that keep you OUT of the arena. We all have tricky things we tell ourselves: There are no good men out there. I am too old. I don’t know where to begin. I deserve better so this isn’t the time. All these beliefs keep you out of the arena, no matter how you disguise them!
- Show up (again and again and again) until you get the result you want for yourself – or you die. Seriously. That sounds dark but the truth, nothing is stopping you but YOU. “Showing up is 80% of life.” Thank you Woody Allen. I say that regularly to myself and clients.
Spot and understand the ways you cope that keep you out of the arena. #Awareness
Show up – again and again and again. #Action