Site Meter Strength | Blake Alexander Hammerton

Commitment Over Criticism

On September 16, 2013, in Coaching, Everyday Life, News, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Diana Nyad

I write a column for the Garland & Rowlett Messenger in Texas, and with the paper coming out last week, I think it’s only fitting to share the column with you all here. If you click the link here, you can see the photo copy I’m all kinds of proud of.

Faced with a seemingly insurmountable goal, nearly every last one of us quits the fight.  Then there are the select few that reject the hand-me-down rules of what we are capable of. These individuals change the landscape of human achievement, and they don’t do it for medals, awards, or recognition. They do it because they feel it in their bones as something they can do when the world tells them it’s impossible.

Diana Nyad did the seemingly impossible over Labor Day weekend by swimming, without a shark cage, across the Caribbean Sea from Havana, Cuba to the Florida Keys. 110 miles of open water, hordes of box jellyfish, and the ever-present threat of sharks weren’t enough to deter her from reaching her ultimate goal.

Nyad is no stranger to defeat and the pain of failure, having finally completed the swim 36 years after her first of five attempts. At 64 years old, she swam for 53 hours straight, fueled by unshakable vigor. It begs the question, what drives someone to do such a thing?

In her 2011 TED talk,  she explained her commitment and drive, saying, “I want it to be difficult. I want it to take passion. I want it to take an unwavering commitment to be able to get to the other shore.” She spoke volumes when the first few words out of her mouth after finally reaching that shore were, “we should never, ever give up.”

This is a shining example of having a vision and commitment to making it become a reality, regardless of what obstacles come before you. In my workshops and personal coaching programs, I meet countless people with big dreams and big reasons for them, but not enough strength to keep forging ahead when it becomes difficult.

The great Roman philosopher, Lucius Seneca said it perfectly: “A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.” The journey is almost certainly going to be difficult at times, but you must keep pushing if you wish to shine.

You have within you the power to create an absolutely extraordinary life if you simply give yourself permission to do so. Since we were little, we’ve all had those voices telling us to be more realistic and practical in what we set out to accomplish. For some of us, the voices were those of our family members; others learned to aim lower from their coworkers, friends, teachers, or spouses.

This is the great lie of the human experience. Fear of aiming too high and failing was instilled in us based on the opinions and experiences of others. We carry around other peoples’ assumptions about life as our own. One of my favorite questions to raise is this:

If you never learned failure – if you never learned to be realistic, what would your life look like?

Give yourself permission to throw out all the conclusions you’ve been given about life, and goals you’ve been told you can and cannot reach. The greatest innovators, athletes, leaders, and performers in the world share the same chemical makeup as you – they just don’t believe the same things about life, and it allows them to create extraordinary successes.

If I told you a 64 year old woman was going to swim for 53 hours straight, 110 miles across the Caribbean Sea from Cuba to Key West, you might not believe it. You might think it couldn’t be done. She, however, never learned that lesson.

My invitation to you is to examine your beliefs about what’s possible for you in your life. Take a closer look at where you may have learned those beliefs and give yourself permission to throw out assumptions that no longer serve you. Focus on what you truly want to believe and experience, and notice what begins to happen when you do.

Until next month, stay brilliant.

—————-

Nourish What Matters – a monthly column of empowerment, clarity, confidence building, and challenges from inspirational speaker and coach, Blake Alexander Hammerton.

28 Powerful Questions for a Happy Life

On June 13, 2013, in Coaching, Everyday Life, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Silhouette-of-a-Man

“Keep your head clear. It doesn’t matter how bright the path is if your head is always cloudy.” ~Unknown

This is an article I wrote for Tiny Buddha last year that was published January 1, 2013. If you’ve not heard of Tiny Buddha, I highly recommend venturing over there and taking in all the goodness.

Have you ever noticed that your biggest “aha” moment comes from someone asking a powerful question? Suddenly everything seems to make a little more sense, and you know what you need to do from that point forward, right?

That’s exactly how it is for me. Someone will ask me a seemingly trivial question and bam! I’m suddenly overflowing with answers, emotions, solutions—I’m practically made of clarity!

I remember a friend of mine asking me over coffee one rainy afternoon a few years ago, “What are you avoiding, Blake?”

“What? Nothing. I mean, I guess I don’t want it to fail.” I eventually replied.

“Yeah, and…” She quips back. “What happens then?”

I came to her because her willingness to face challenges head-on amazes me, and I needed her to facemy challenge and give me that sage advice I knew she could. I wanted to leave corporate America and venture out on my own, and I wanted her to somehow make that sounds less crazy.

I wanted to throw caution to the wind and follow what I most passionately believed in.

I wanted to be my own success story.

also wanted someone else to tell me it was going to work.

Calculating, weighing, analyzing—these things can only take you so far. I subconsciously needed something to get me out of my head and into some clarity. I needed that push.

We bounced back and forth for what seemed like eternity. When most people have conversations like this, one party inevitably snaps out of the pattern and either says something oddly profound, or simply gets frustrated and tells the other to bugger off.

I was lucky enough to receive the former rather than the latter.

“When do you stop calculating risk and rewards and just do it?” she asked. “Because it feels like you’re building a magnificent ship you’re too much of a baby to ever sail. What are more committed to, dreaming it or doing it?”

Holy cow, I was stunned. She was right. What was I more committed to? What a brilliant question.

As a coach (yes, I made the leap and ventured out on my own), I make my living asking these questions to help clients get out of their own way.

The beauty of these questions is there are no right or wrong answers. They are just meant to get your wheels turning, and maybe help you see the decisions you’ve been making, and the ones you’d like to make from now on.

These are 28 of my favorite questions:

1. We learn from our mistakes, yet we’re always so afraid to make one. Where is this true for you?

2. What risk would you take if you knew you could not fail?

3. What is your greatest strength? Have any of your recent actions demonstrated this strength?

4. What are the top five things you cherish in your life?

5. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

6. When do you stop calculating risk and rewards, and just do it?

7. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?

8. What do you most connect with? Why?

9. What one piece of advice would you offer a newborn child?

10. Which is worse—failing or never trying?

11. Why do we do things we dislike and like the things we never seem to do?

12. What are you avoiding?

13. What is the one job/cause/activity that could get you out of bed happily for the rest of your life? Are you doing it now?

14. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

15. What are you most grateful for?

16. What would you say is one thing you’d like to change in the world?

17. Do you find yourself influencing your world, or it influencing you?

18. Are you doing what you believe in or settling for what you’re doing?

19. What are you committed to?

20. Which worries you more – doing things right or doing the right things?

21. If joy became the national currency, what kind of work would make you wealthy?

22. Have you been the kind of friend you’d want as one?

23. Do any of the things that used to upset you a few years ago matter at all today? What’s changed?

24. Would you rather have less work to do or more work you enjoy doing?

25. What permission do you need/want to move forward?

26. Really, what do you have to lose if you go for it?

27. How different would your life be if there weren’t any criticism in the world?

28. We’re always making choices. Are you choosing for your story or for someone else’s?

Powerful questions can change the very fiber of our construction. They give us a chance to challenge our own ideals and perhaps shed some light on what we are and are not committed to.

It’s important to understand that we’re always committed to something. If it’s not success out on our own, it’s staying safe in the comfortable success of someone else. If we’re not committed to creating our opportunities, we’re committed to floating around, hoping, waiting, and wishing for circumstance.

Are you more committed to dreaming it or doing it?

Ask yourself some of these questions when you feel stuck. What comes up just might surprise you!

Peace, love, and a million successes to you, my friends!

Photo by Tobias Mandt

A Taste of Bliss: Moving On in Four Steps

On January 23, 2013, in Coaching, Everyday Life, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Guest Post by Greg Malouf of Epsilon Healing Academy

Buddha in the rain - clear and mindful.

“Get out of your head and get into your heart. Think less, feel more.” – Osho

 

I came to a point in my life where I felt like something was not working the way I wanted it to. I struggled with addiction, stress and anxiety, and had to go through a painful divorce. Once I was finally ready to make a change in my life, the question became: How?

Having the desire to change was an important first step because it led me to begin a search for answers. One thing that is necessary to understand, however, is that in seeking change, we are embarking on a journey. There are answers, but there is no magic that will instantly fix everything in life. I had to learn to be patient and to be open as I moved through the process.

With that said, I’d like to share a few tips I used to get through making a life change that you can try right away that will offer a taste of what is to come as you progress through this work.

Shift your perspective

Try this exercise for one day of your life—just one!

Throughout the day, stop yourself—as best as you can—from criticizing, judging, attacking, or acting out behaviorally when a negative emotion or uneasiness is triggered within you. Focus on your thoughts, your emotions, and your actions as you encounter people, things, and circumstances that trigger those negative thoughts and feelings in you. When those feelings come up, and you are tempted to speak harshly or act out of anger and frustration, catch yourself and take a breath. Instead of the response you would instinctively make, on this day, make a conscious effort to shift your perspective from negative to positive.

Watch what happens when you make a conscious choice to see circumstances differently. As you choose positive responses over negative ones, you will certainly notice a shift in your perspective and your outlook.  You will also notice a shift in those around you. Think about an argument you’ve had with someone. Typically, arguments start with something simple and relatively unimportant, but as heated words are exchanged, the hostility ratchets up until it seems there is no going back. But imagine if instead of fueling that fire, you step back, take a moment, and respond with openness and kindness. The situation would be resolved much quicker and without all the bad feelings.

Indulge only in loving thoughts and your day will be beautiful. Feelings that you have not felt in a long time will continue to surface – joy, peace, contentment, fulfillment.

Practice Forgiveness

The next step in the process is forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean condoning bad behavior. It simply means that we choose to release any anger or bitterness toward the person we believe has caused our unease. That can be difficult to do, so here is a way to start.

When you feel resentment, anger, or grievances, replace these feelings with the thought, “I love you, (name), and I accept you as you are.”

Repeat this each time you feel a change of mental state or an uneasy feeling.

Identify the thought and at whom this negative energy is projected. Forgive, using loving words and affirmations. Repeat the words above until you are free of any negative energy and unease.

Forgive yourself for your reactions—for carrying the shame of that past for so long. Recognize that you are now in control of your life!

Know that those who you reacted to have helped you recognize and release the part of your past that kept you prisoner within your mind and body. They helped liberate you, and you love them for it. This is true forgiveness!

Release negative feelings

As with any skill, learning to respond with love in potentially difficult situations takes practice. There is something you can do to help yourself be better prepared when you do encounter triggers.

At the moment you feel unease, take note of where you feel it in your body. It may be pain that you don’t readily associate with an emotional issue, or it may be emotional distress that you can now associate with a physical manifestation, such as stomachache, headache, or tension in your neck. Either way, when you feel pain, be aware that it is a sign that you are out of alignment with your true values; you are disconnected to your inner you.

Sit quietly, and focus on your pain. Say what you are feeling—grief, anger, resentment, loneliness, and so on. Separate the feelings from the pain. Release the emotion and simply be aware once again of the physical pain. Breathe deeply in and out, and allow the breath to carry this pain with it. After a short time, your body will feel rested.

Now you have isolated the negative energy that fed your thoughts. As the thoughts come, simply observe them without judgment. Continue to sit quietly and breathe.

Ask yourself ––in the inner silence of Self, “What part of my past caused me to feel this way?” Remember that your negative thoughts stem from your past traumas, large and small. Recognize any resemblance between your current feelings and that past experience.

Use positive affirmations

Positive affirmations are an excellent way to remind yourself throughout the day to check your emotional state and redirect or reframe any negative thoughts or feelings. Here are a few examples:

“I am now in control of my life.”

“I forgive those I now recognize for holding me in their shame, and I forgive myself for carrying it for so long. I send them love and offer myself love.”

“I am okay in Self.”

As you practice each of these exercises, keep in mind that the real miracle–– the major shift–– will come when you are ready to create your life consciously. Consider this a small miracle to enjoy, an opportunity to experience a mere taste of bliss, calm, and joy all around you.

Don’t be afraid to give yourself a chance – after all, the primary beneficiary will be you! In this one day, you may feel what it is to liberate the soul.

Let go of your fear, and give it a try! If I was able to do this, you can too.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. What resonates the most with you in your life? What do you focus on when you begin to heal? Please comment and share.

 

Gregory MaloufGreg Malouf is the founder of Epsilon Healing Academy where he works with students throughout the world to take a journey away from life as they know it, and into the inner world of the Self – where they ultimately find healing. His book, “Silent: The Power of Silence,” was written to take readers on an inward journey to find the all-loving place and connection that is the silent connection to Self.

Video: Commitment & Choice

On September 13, 2012, in Coaching, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

 

Please share your thoughts. What are you saying yes to these days? What would you like to say yes to?

If you like this video, please share it!

Thanks! Stay brilliant!

Blake

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30-30 Challenge: An Update That Matters

On February 27, 2012, in Events, News, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Nourish What Matters Web Store Screenshot

It’s been quite a crazy week! I’ve been sending out newsletters a few times a week since this started, and last week I threw out a challenge that came back to me like a wrecking ball. I invited all of you to revisit an old idea you had – maybe one you threw on the “back burner” quite some time ago. I didn’t challenge you to bring it to fruition that day, but I opened the door Monday, and challenged you to take some steps to see if it could hold water on Friday.

I received a lot of responses, filling my inbox throughout the day, and I cannot express how amazing it is to hear some of your ideas! Some of them felt so strong – like they have been burning the midnight oil inside you for years, and the passion and excitement of bringing it out was incredible to witness!

Monday I thought about the charity/foundation I wanted to start “eventually” – eventually is code for a magical time called “someday.” I opened my intention up for suggestion, and asked for a hint – what some of us call quantum flirts or signs. Well, I got it. There was so much going on in my world that day, that I almost felt like we had missed the reasons why we were living. Then a Trevor Project commercial came on. I immediately heard the voice in my head screaming at me.

We need to Nourish What Matters most in life.

That was it. I knew this was what had been burning inside me. So I did what any other completely neurotic nerd with a good idea does: I got on the computer, registered a domain name, built a quick website, created logos, a mini mission statement, and designed merchandise to get started.

Nourish What Matters

Many of you received the newsletter this morning regarding it, but I’m going to throw in some details here as well. Nourish What Matters is an ideal, a foundation – nay, a movement in the making. It’s about recognizing the value and preciousness of life, and the community and connectedness of humans. We’re all different, but we’re all here for the same thing: to experience whatever greatness we can while we can.

Nourish What Matters is about acknowledging that ideal in everyone, and giving them a place to call home. We will raise monies for various events and charities until we have our own charity to tout. We want to support the Trevor Project, Sing for Hope, and organizations that promote the human spirit and innovation.

You can join the movement, and get the donations started by clicking the image above, or this link, and purchasing a t-shirt or hoodie. You know you want to. They’re wicked-awesome, and so are you… isn’t that a perfect match? I vote yes.

Follow @NourishTheLove on twitter, and stay tuned for more updates and developments on the Nourish What Matters website.

Please purchase a piece of merch, and spread the word!

Together we can do this!

Peace, Love, and a million successes to you all!

Blake

P.S. What charities do you want us to donate to?  What causes speak most to you?  Let us know in the comments below!

Complimentary New Year Coaching!

On December 28, 2011, in Coaching, Everyday Life, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

 Welcome 2012 Year - Your Best Ever

 

In a year from now, you’ll wish you started today.

This is one of my most favorite quotes because it keeps me focused on what I’m committing to when I procrastinate. Every time I say no to getting up and getting out there, I’m saying yes to missed opportunities; yes to broken promises to myself; yes to feeling overwhelmed later when I feel like I haven’t gotten anything done; yes to excuses – the list goes on.  When I say yes to those things, I’m also saying no to success; no to opportunity; no to connections; and no to myself.

In a year from now, you bet your ass I will wish I had started today. That’s why I’m starting…. today.

My coaching and hypnosis clients have been breaking down their walls, and giving themselves permission to be active participants in their own lives. They’re waking up, getting clear, and consciously creating like I’ve never seen. It’s A-MAY-ZING. Several of them have mentioned things like, “If people only gave themselves the chance to speak to you for a few minutes, they’d realize how powerful this is.” I’m taking that to heart, and I’m offering a beautiful, wonderful, absolutely free opportunity to do just that – get hardcore, goal-oriented, no-fluff coaching to start 2012 off right.

I’m offering year end completion sessions absolutely free for the next two weeks. This offer is only good until the 11th of January. I know what it’s like to make resolutions for the new year and watch them fall apart by March. I know what it’s like to feel like you’re doing the same thing – same victories, same mistakes – year after year. These completion sessions give you a chance to notice the cycle, break it, and create a new pattern for the year.

It’s too good not to give away.

Look, in a year from now, you’ll wish you started today. And it’s free. And you’ve nothing to lose, right? So, what’s stopping you?

Check out the list of the 15 habits for your best year ever, and  contact me to schedule your free call with me.

You’ve always wanted this to be the year you finally make it happen, right?

It can be. Let’s make it happen.

847-886-9042

Hard Truth: You Have to Be The One to Let it Go

On November 29, 2011, in Coaching, Everyday Life, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Over the past few days, I’ve had some pretty powerful conversations about what it means to let things go – what it means to “unplug” from the story, other person, situation, outcome etc. It’s not easy to do. That goes without saying, really. More importantly, however, is the fact that the entire situation is in your hands. There’s a hard truth here, and it’s a good one to take in.

Resentment is a poison you take, hoping the other person will die. ~ Malachy McCort

We, as humans, all play parts in this big play called life. We sometimes play the hero, sometimes the villain, and sometimes the victim. When we find ourselves in a place we don’t like, and all our effort to change it (with force or otherwise) is met with another’s opposition, we jump into victim. We blame, criticize, lash out, and shut down.

Have you ever been in a relationship that was so toxic you starting wishing he or she would take a long walk off a short pier? You know, the one where it feels like no matter what you do this person just knows how to push those buttons and make your head explode? Yeah, you’re pretty plugged into it, aren’t you?

People may have told you that the reason he/she has such an effect on you is because you “plug in” and feed energy to their cause. When you react, it gives that person something to continue to manipulate and enflame.

Feels like beating a dead horse, right?

Wrong.

Nobody beats a dead horse. They beat that which is still kicking and screaming. When you react and start kicking and screaming, they receive immediate assurance that this issue is still going, and they continue with the button-pushing-bonanza.

Let’s switch gears, shall we? The dead horse analogy feels a little dark.

What about working toward something that just doesn’t seem to happen – sound familiar? Take a look at your life and see if there are any parts that feel like no matter what you do, it’s just not moving forward. If so, check in and see if you’re working with or against the tide of your life. Are you holding onto an outcome so tightly that you’re blind to all other possibilities?

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our assumptions (read: stories) about what’s going to happen, that we miss what is actually happening! Some of us spend our whole lives in the “shoulds” that we never make it to the clearing to find our way home.

So here’s the Hard Truth:

You – not anyone else – have to let it go. 

The moment you unplug from that which manipulates your energy negatively, you are free to breathe life into that which fulfills you. So often we have this idea of what we should and should not be able to have, do, and/or be, and when someone challenges that (read: pushes our buttons negatively), we plug in and start reacting defensively. Should that person continue to “not let it go” we can find ourselves fighting with two entities: our doubt (maybe he/she is right) and the other person, himself.

There are two things you can do right now to help get yourself moving forward, and away from this painful cycle. The first is forgiveness. This is one of the most powerful tools on the planet for creating greatness in your life. When this person or situation is pulling you away from your fulfillment, causing you to react and plug into their cause, take a deep breath and realize this is never going to change. You don’t have to convince the world or another person of the validity of your opinion or life – and they do not have to convince you of their own. Forgive them for any pain they’ve caused you, and let them be. Take a deep breath and unplug from it.

The second thing to do is give yourself permission to perform without approval.

Wait, what did he just say?!?!?

Exactly. You may not consciously know it, but often the reason you argue your point so voraciously with the same person or people is that you feel it isn’t good enough – you’re not good enough – until they are convinced and give you their approval. Stop that. When you put your success in the hands of those that influence your energy negatively, you bury yourself in their land – their negative perspective, their projection, their weight is now pushing, squeezing, smothering the action and ideas you want to embrace.

So, for the next week, let your assumptions go. Let your resentment go. Let your need for approval go.

Give yourself permission to let it all go. Hold onto that which fulfills you and makes you feel alive and connected!

It’s hard, no question. Start now anyway. In a year from now, you’ll wish you started today.

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The Truth About The Best Day of Your Life

On November 2, 2011, in Coaching, Everyday Life, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

The Best Day of Your Life is When You Decide it's YOUR Life

Today’s post is a bit of a smack in the face. Well, it might come off as such, so why argue with it, right? I’ve spent the last few weeks watching my clients make incredible leaps of faith – pushing aside the person they’ve spent their lives creating to make room for the one they are becoming. They’re waking up to life, and they’re consciously creating. They are responsible. They are powerful. They are human.

I’ve also spent the last few weeks being inundated with the trials and tribulations of what it is to be the victim. There is a sense of entitlement in the world, and it’s not doing anyone any good. “Oh poor me” isn’t getting you anywhere, and frankly, it’s bullshit.

I hear people talk about how they can’t get what they want because they don’t have A or B or C. They don’t have what it takes because someone took away their X or Y or Z a long time ago. Or worse, they can’t make the changes they want because the economy is bad.

You mean to tell me you can’t change your attitude, create goals and actions plans, or get your ass in gear toward the life you want because the economy is bad?

Bullshit.

I asked a friend of mine to describe what the best day of his life looked like. He told me the best day was the one in which he wouldn’t have to work a job he didn’t like. He described a day filled with people being nice to him, and everything he wanted being delivered to him on a silver platter. It sounds nice, right?

The detail often missed in stories like these is in the narrative. Is the subject describing a day in which he goes and gets what he wants, makes executive decisions, takes control, or do great things happen to him?

Here’s the hard truth:

The best day of your life is when you wake up to it and claim it as your own. It’s the day when you take responsibility and choose to stop apologizing, blaming, or being the victim any longer. It’s not good things happening to you – it’s you deciding it’s your life, and God-damn-it you’re going to make good things happen.

Everyone, every moment of every day, is at choice. They (yeah, you included) can either decide to be a leaf in the wind, or the wind itself. Benjamin Disraeli wrote:

“Man is not the creature of circumstance. Circumstance is the creature of man. We are all free agents, and man is more powerful than matter.”

You have a decision to make. Stop the bullshit story and start the story of your life…or don’t.

The greatest day of your life? That’s easy. It’s the day you decide to start living.

 

Got something to add? Put it in the comments below!

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Interview: Get Courageous in 2012

On October 10, 2011, in Coaching, News, by Blake Alexander Hammerton

Interview with Kate “Courageous” Swoboda from Blake Hammerton on Vimeo.

What a treat it was to speak with Kate Swoboda in a Skype interview last week!  Kate is the founder and lead coach at Your Courageous Life coaching, and the mastermind behind the Coaching Blueprint – a tool and class to help coaches get their businesses running by helping them get back in touch with what makes them love coaching so much.

If you’ve read anything on her site, you know Kate is a no-nonsense kind of person. She doesn’t sugar coat the issues we are all dealing with – as coaches and as people. She calls out the gremlins we all wrestle with from time to time, and loves playing in that space of uncertainty – that space that many people call fear.

In this interview we talk about what we want for 2012 and beyond, what keeps her inspired to keep inspiring others, and what we, as coaches and human beings, can gain from embracing our fears and discovering what’s within them.  It’s a brilliant 20 minutes, if I do say so myself.

I do have to apologize, however. The audio on my microphone just wasn’t playing nicely the day we did this interview, so I have some echo going on. She sounds like she’s in a room (like a regular person). I sound like I’m in a barrel (like someone about to roll over Niagara Falls for publicity). I give you all my word that I will make quite sure to sound better next time.

What do you want to learn from embracing your fear?

What do you want, as we enter the ending months of 2011, for 2012?

Leave your comments for us!

 

What to Do When Plans Don’t Go as Planned

On September 15, 2011, in Coaching, Everyday Life, by Blake Alexander Hammerton
Beautiful Mark Twain Quote

AppliedHappiness.Tumblr.com

 

There has been a lot of negative discourse in the world these days – in case you missed it: “the economy is terrible, everything is getting too expensive, you’re not getting any younger, there’s nothing you can do, terrorism is taking over” – it’s all thrown at us every day in the media and sometimes in relationships with those closest to us.

I know, like every last one of you, I’ve found myself in situations that were not the way I’d planned them to be.  Whether it’s the unexpected end of a relationship, a surprise visit (from anyone good or not-so-good), failure or falling-short of goals, or financial burdens, when things don’t go as planned it can turn us all upside-down (even if only for a few moments).

So what’s the answer to all of it? What’s the other side of this cursed coin?

There are a lot of little things you can do to shift your game, and level the playing field. They may never prevent the unexpected (it’s called unexpected for a reason), but they’ll definitely help to change the way you influence the world around you, and how it impacts you. Here are some keys for helping you through “what to do when my plans don’t go as planned.”

Tune out the “it’s never gonna get better” voice

The moment things do not go our way, we instinctively begin rattling off all the far-fetched and overly melodramatic details of how “this is just one more terrible thing” in our lives – exaggerating how the situation truly affects us.  A previous post of mine [Bad Publicity] talked about this voice a lot. The messages we tell ourselves have a very serious impact on how we view the world.

Ready for a little nostalgia? Remember when you were little and upset about something and your mom told you it would be okay? You believed her! Coincidentally, she was right, wasn’t she?  When did you stop believing it would be alright?

When things don’t go as planned, take a moment and listen to that voice in your head. Notice how it makes you feel to believe all the negative and depressing ideas that voice is pushing on you. If you don’t want to feel that way, choose not to believe it.  90% of the time, we blow things out of proportion. The big question is this:

Did my plan get derailed or just delayed?

Take the hint – something is trying to emerge

When what you want seems to elude you, pause for a moment and look around.  What appears instead? There’s something trying to emerge in all conflict – which is exactly what happens when plans go awry! I remember working in sales a few years ago, and I found that toward the end of that job it was getting increasingly difficult to smile and stay motivated. The job wasn’t terrible on the surface, but beneath the visible, my heart was crying out for escape. I was not supposed to be there any more.

I know you’ve had moments where you suddenly saw/felt a sign that changed your perspective or brought you clarity. In fact, you may have even asked the sky/God/Universe for a sign. Well, they’re all over the place and it’s high time you gave yourself permission to slow down and see them.

As an example, let’s imagine you’re unemployed and feeling pretty down about it.  Maybe you even feel like the victim of the economy. The media is posting record unemployment numbers and it’s all doom-n-gloom well into the future.

Pause. Let’s look around for a moment.

Let’s imagine that other people around you have modified their searches and have found work.  Let’s even go as far to say they took risks to get the jobs they now have. What’s this sensation? Maybe the sign here is that changing your plan or taking a risk will deliver the reward you’re looking for. Are you too focused on something that’s not coming? Are you so focused on the tree in front of you that you miss the engulfing wildfire around it?

What’s trying to emerge in your struggle?

Play the Bigger Game & return to the basics

This is probably the most important piece in the equation. When plans fall apart or don’t go as expected, and you feel the weight of it all pushing you off track – discouraging and demotivating you – get back to basics. The Bigger Game is all about knowing who you are and why you do what you do. If you don’t know what it is that makes you come alive, then everything can almost taste the same. If, however, you’ve discovered what you want – what fulfills, thrills, motivates, calms, and creates you – then all you need to do is return to the why behind it.

A perfect example of this is my friend Joe. He works in his garage building custom motorcycles on weekends and most weekday nights (often well into the early morning hours). He also works 40 hours a week in a corporate job pounding phones in a cubicle in the suburbs. When things don’t go as planned, he knows it’s just a delay in his real place in life – building custom bikes.

Joe is so infinitely clear about what makes him feel most alive that he simply doesn’t let anything get in his way. His why is pumping through his veins. Motorcycle building and customizing is Joe’s “Adrenaline of Purpose.” What’s yours?

When it’s as crystal clear what you want as it is with Joe, a calmness comes over you when the unexpected happens. Instead of reacting to the stress, you get curious about it. It no longer threatens your future or happiness. You know what you want and why. That’s the first brick to lay in your foundation.

If you want help discovering what your Adrenaline of Purpose is, contact me. Let’s discover what pumps through your veins.

The Mark Twain quote above is so perfect because we need to stay present to opportunity. Even completely changed or ruined plans can unfold into the most beautiful day in your life. Give it that chance.

What do you find yourself doing/thinking/feeling/behaving when plans don’t go as planned?

Leave your comments below!

 

 

P.S. It’s all going to be okay.

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