Mirror Living: Do You Like What You See?

Being an entrepreneur is a constant "face-in-the-mirror" experience.  

It is seeing it all in front of you, from the zits to the circles to the streaks of gray.  

But.  

It is also recognizing the glow of energy brought on by claiming imagination.

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The Fuel Of Gratitude

Gratitude.  You have heard it before--it’s important, even helpful.  Perhaps, you have even felt it-the warm rush after doing a kind act or sharing a kind word with a friend or even a stranger.  But, fuel?!?  And, if it’s fuel, can it add value to not only one's personal life, but one's professional life as well? 

Gratitude is a place of readiness.  An active state that supports us like ripe fruit in a hungry belly.   Hunger is not compartmentalized to a specific aspect of one’s life.  In fact, it affects every aspect-personal and professional.

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Accessing Your Internal Board of Directors

There has been a great deal of talk over the years about a "Personal Board of Directors".  And, don't get me wrong, this is powerful.  They can be your group of wise men and women that you leverage as you move forward on your career path-whatever that may be - in a specific workplace or as an entrepreneur.  Yet, what if there was a step before?  What if it didn't ask for outside recruitment or outside advice, as sage as it can be.  What if you spent your time initially getting to know your own Internal Board of Directors that really serve as your best allies as you move forward in life.

Of course this nuance is different.  So, let's play.  You've heard it said that there is a deeper wisdom inside, that, if listened to, can guide you forward.  A little woo-woo?  Perhaps.  But, what about when you have had that little inkling or 6th sense or gut reaction to do something, say something and it was right on!  Or, perhaps the other direction.  You could feel the sense that you shouldn't do something or you even feel part of you shouting "no" inside and yet, you didn't listen.  And, all you now want is a do-over that simply will never come!  Been there.  Done that...on both accounts.

Intrigued?  Well, the beautiful part is that it doesn't demand paying for a lunch out, or organizing an agenda or playing phone tag.  What it does demand, however, is the space and time to listen.  And, it is about listening to YOU.  These aspects of you include your body, your mind, and your emotions, all of which lead you to your Deeper Self.  Let's take a look.

Your Body:  Yes, the amazing vessel that you walk around with all day!  It is what sends you physical signals about choices you have made and choices you have yet to make.  You know, the neck pain that comes when you read that memo from your boss mentioning a new project "that has your name all over it", but you know it won't really use your talents in a way that energizes you.  Or the headache that comes on when you know you have a family gathering coming up, but you have yet to figure out how to deal with your brother who always seems to put you down.  What do these examples offer?  Perhaps red flags that provide feedback or guidance around issues that need to be addressed.  Begin by asking yourself "what sensations am I feeling in my body?"  Give yourself the space to listen for the answers.  

Your mind:  Insights. Imagination. Inspiration.  An amazing reservoir of possibilities, if we let it and if we learn how to guide it.  For many, we allow our minds to run amuck.  This is when our mind takes on the persona of a wild animal setting our course  and direction.  However, through loving guidance and discipline, this can change.  What am I speaking about?  Watch your thoughts for an hour.  Are there certain thoughts that play over and over again as if you have hit the repeat button and you can't turn it off?  The first step is awareness.  The second is replacement.  Replace the self-defeating thoughts with those that support you.  With the desire to move toward greater creativity, offer yourself the space to ask for ideas, and expect better ones!  Ask for 5 new ideas that your entrepreneurial self is looking for in the creation of your next business, in your next day as a parent of teenagers or small children or in your relationship with your husband or wife.  And then, ask for 5 more!  Give yourself the space to listen for the answers.

Your emotions:  A Gift.  A Beacon.  Your emotions serve as a window into your deeper self. Through self-awareness they offer input.  They offer information.  Emotions are not who you are.  Rather, what you can find is the awareness that stands behind the emotions.  Opening this window allows you to access your insight, your creativity.  How does this work?  Begin by simply asking yourself, "what am I feeling at this moment?"  Give yourself the space to listen for the answers.

Getting to really know yourself through your body, your mind and your emotions opens you to yourself.  Each are valuable in and of themselves.  But through the listening, you also begin to access a deeper voice, a Deeper Self that can offer guidance, compassion and love.   Let your own Internal Board of Directors lead you in the direction of your Joy.  Because, you know, it is the only direction they want to go!  

Two Ways To Move You Into Life Balance

The other night as I was leaving a parent meeting at school, I shared a quick exchange with another mom that I hadn't crossed paths with in a while.  "You know," she said, "I hate that word life balance.  There is simply no such thing.  I hardly ever see my friends or anyone socially and all I do is work!"  And, yes, I could definitely sense a thud to the exclamation mark at the end of her statement challenging me to even try to counter with any alternative view.  However, I was curious if she was enjoying her own business.  She shot back with how completely busy she was without anytime for anything or anyone in her life, upon which she turned and began a conversation with someone else.

Life balance is a powerful concept.  The pain of the concept comes when we load it up with the expectation that our lives are components of inanimate objects to be picked up and placed on an immovable scale.  In fact, Martha Beck says that any "deep-seated, long-lasting, intractable emotional pain is always evidence that we believe something false". 

So, what is life?  Life is simply the existence of change.  And change is ever constant.  Adding the concept of balance actually adds deep beauty if you recognize balance as simply presence. Presence allows for acceptance in what is in the moment.  That awareness offers compassion and love, if you let it.  

So, you are probably saying, "come on now...life balance is awareness of constant change opening into compassion and love?!?"  Oh, ya, baby, you've got it now!  So, let's bring it down to the everyday.  A couple of ways to do that... 

If life is change, then check in with yourself.  What are you feeling?  Self-awareness comes with self-reflection.  So do it!  Ask yourself.  And, if change is constant, consider making it a habit.  That feedback can be amazing content in your forward movement. 

If balance is about presence, then take some time to introduce yourself to yourself!  Take yourself out on a date and give yourself time to yourself.  Do you know what you like?  Do you know what makes you happy?  Peaceful?  Excited?  Find out!  Living in the moment is a sensory explosion of an amazing magnitude.  Check it out!  As you do, you might find the power of you and the real blessing that you are to the world.

So go for it.  Life balance can be a lot of fun, if you allow it to be what it is...awareness of constant change opening into compassion and love.  Bring it on!

3 Small Steps Toward Your Truth

Are you one of those people who start a novel and take a peek at the ending?  Maybe closer to my M.O., is choosing movies (at least a majority of them) that simply have a happy ending.  I want to know that everything will end up alright.  Perhaps this is world news coverage fatigue, but at any rate, knowing that I will have the happy ending is where I go and play.  

But what about life?  You know, the real thing.  You might think that after the above I would be dead on arrival.  And yet.  I am not.  Does that mean that I have found the special happy pill?  No. And. Yes.  However, it's not a pill.  It's more like awareness of a journey.  A journey that I slip and fall occasionally, lose my way, get tired, but also get back up, stop for rest, enjoy the vista, play on the hillside, regain my path and well, have a fun along the way.  

This awareness is found in three small steps - stillness, listening and observing.  It is these three steps that take me to a deeper truth that can't be found in the noise swirling around me.  My family's spring break was a mishmash of various directions - taking my daughter on college visits, engaging in a local business entrepreneurial class and celebrating my mom's 75th birthday.  Of course, looking back on this list to be accomplished in 3 different states might lead someone to say, "Too Much".  But then, leading a life in the "AND" of a professional life, family life and personal life can sometimes get off track when I stop moving from a place of awareness that takes me to my truth.  

Fast forward to about week and a half in, and I was toast.  I had let go of pretty much all three of my steps.  The beautiful part, however, was feeling the resulting pain and letting it guide me back to my awareness.  Moving back into stillness found in my early morning, took me into listening to my life.  Many thoughts came, but by observing them and just letting them move on through, I found myself backing into my deeper voice of love, gentleness and healing.  

Claim your time of stillness whether it is in the early morning hours with a cup of coffee, going for a walk or claiming journaling time before you start your work day.  Use the time to be with yourself, feeling your amazing body that you are privileged to have and just breathe.  As you relax into yourself, listen.  Yes thoughts, like clouds in the sky, will come.  Let them and let them keep on going!  Observe what is going by.  Begin to notice the tape that might be playing and how the repeat button is on constant. In the noticing, comes the awareness of the existence of your deeper self that is listening and observing,  That is your beginning.  It is this place, the place of awareness, that will lead you to your deeper truth.