If You Believe, So Will They

Believe

Are you ready? I have another volleyball story. But this time it’s about me, not my daughter.

My husband and I sit at the scorer’s table for every match. Him to keep the official scorebook. And, me, to do libero tracking. We make a good team and most of the referees who work our matches enjoy working with us.

Recently, my husband was out of town and unable to make a match. I arranged for someone to sub for him so the scorebook would be covered. Long story short, there was some mis-communication and the sub didn’t make it. We had no-one to keep the scorebook…except for me. The only problem with me keeping the book is that I have never done so before.

Now, I have been playing volleyball for over 30 years so am intimately familiar with the sport. Since I get the sport, I was fairly confident that I could figure out how to do the book. So, I sucked it up, swallowed my nervousness, and got to work setting up the sheet for our match. (And frantically looking through past matches in the book to see if I could figure out how it is done.)

A few minutes later, the referees walked in. Both were people that my husband and I have worked with before. They both approached the scorer’s table and said, “we are so happy to see you and so glad the book will actually be done right tonight.” No pressure, right.

Since I was sitting there looking like I was in charge they just assumed that I knew how to do the book. And I wasn’t going to correct them at this point.

Normally the home team keeps the official book and we were the visiting team that night. Shortly into the first set the home team scorebook keeper missed that the home team was out of rotation. The referee closest to me walked over to the table, told her that I was now going to keep the official book, and then asked her to sit right next to me so that I could teach her how to do it. What? I’d never done the book before so I certainly wasn’t officially “qualified” to teach her but I went with it.

The evening went well. I now officially know how to do the book…and so does the girl from the other team. So, what’s the point of me telling you all of this?

So many of my clients, and quite honestly, me, suffer from imposter syndrome. We never feel ready or qualified to put out into the world that we are experts at anything. That little voice in our head constantly screams that we don’t have enough experience or asks who are we to say we know what we are doing. But 95% of the time, we do know what we are doing. There are always going to be people more qualified or more experienced than we are but it doesn’t mean we don’t know what we are doing and shouldn’t be ready to step into our personal expertise. We aren’t talking about pretending to be a heart surgeon if we’ve never gone to medical school. We’re talking about stepping into and owning what you already are and how you want to serve people. Whether that’s a business owner, a coach, a personal that specializes in a particular niche, etc.

You see, if you believe in yourself even a little bit and then build on it from there. If you trust in yourself enough to know that if you run into unfamiliar territory your life’s experiences and intelligence will allow you to figure it out – they will begin to believe in you too.

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Manifestation Observations

manifestation observations

This post is brief but I want to share a personal observation that I recently made about manifesting. Now, I do believe in the Law of Attraction and in the power of manifestation. However, I struggle with fully implementing the concept in my life. I have a life-time of beliefs that cause inner conflicts that keep me from really allowing things to show up.

For example, one of my conflicts is the fact that I am a believer in God. My struggle is that I feel that if I’m manifesting then I’m taking the glory away from what God is providing by claiming it was me instead of Him. So, I’m working to remind myself that what I’m really manifesting is the awareness of the opportunities that He provides so that I can take advantage of them.

I recently had a family situation around manifestation that shed some light on another internal conflict. Here’s the story:

Our daughter asked to go to a concert – a really expensive concert – in another city (which would require a plane ticket and hotel accommodations). I wasn’t willing to spend the money but one of her friends (and family) was attending and they invited our daughter to go along. We decided to let her go but only if she raised enough money to pay for the entire thing herself.

At first, she was super motivated and created a plan for making the money. The plan included getting a part-time job, baby-sitting, and selling things she no longer uses. She put the word out and then just sat back and waited for the opportunities to arise. Which they did. And she worked them as they came. But after putting the word out, she completely let the stress of raising the money go.

Within a couple of weeks, she had raised 80% of the money she needed. And I found myself getting frustrated with her. Frustrated that she wasn’t working hard enough to make it happen. Frustrated because I wanted her to struggle with raising the money because life is a struggle. I didn’t want her to think that life was just going to be this easy. And then I caught myself and I saw it clear as day. All of my limiting beliefs that you have to work hard to achieve anything. That nothing worthwhile comes easy. That life is meant to be a struggle smacked me right in the face.

Why wouldn’t I want my child to understand that life doesn’t have to be hard? That if you are clear on what you want and then you take advantage of the opportunities as they arise, life can be a lot less stressful and a lot more enjoyable.

And I’m really glad that I caught myself because I almost ruined her positive thinking and beliefs with my limiting beliefs. So, here’s the moral of the story. Our limiting stories are typically passed down to us through our family. If you are aware that our stories impact our lives and also are aware that we are capable of rewriting our stories to improve our lives, then be very careful of the stories you tell your children. Why make them spend their adult lives trying to re-write what we programmed when we can break the cycle now by supporting and reinforcing their empowered stories. It’s one of our gifts to them.

What To Do When You Are In a Funk

a funk

Have you ever worked so hard to build/adopt/acquire a routine that one day you wake up and realize you are in a rut? We constantly read articles about the importance of daily routines and how it accelerates success so we work really hard to develop one that works the best for us – because we all know routines are not one-size-fits-all. We devote ourselves to making the routine stick and exercise all the discipline we can muster to ensure it stays grounded in our daily activity.

I am one of those people who has had to work really hard to develop and then commit to a routine. I have a morning routine based off of Jack Canfield’s suggestions in his “The Success Principles” book where I devote 20 minutes to moving my body, 20 minutes to meditation and affirmations, and 20 minutes to reading. In all of my years of trying to get a routine to work for me, this one has worked the best because its very straight forward and easy to do every day. Which translates to the fact that I can’t really justify not doing it.

Recently, I noticed that I was doing the exact same stretching/moving sequence every morning, I was no longer in tune with what my body was feeling, and my mind was running a thousand miles per hour. I was mindlessly doing the motions which means I wasn’t getting the full benefits of having a routine. I found the same, not so much with my affirmations, but definitely with my reading. I was spending the time reading but I wasn’t mentally invested in the words. This completely defeats the purpose!!

It was clear that I was in a funk that I needed to get out of or I might as well ditch the routine. Here are 3 things I did to mix it up enough to get me back on track.

1.       I changed my stretching sequence. This seems really easy and a no brainer but I’m here to tell you, just because it’s easy doesn’t mean you’ll actually do it. There is much less resistance to doing the same thing over and over again – even if it isn’t effective – than to spend the time to try to figure out something new. So, I scheduled a time in my calendar to spend a few minutes researching a program that would work for me in the time frame I have allotted for stretching. (Scheduling the research may seem extreme but if it isn’t on my calendar, I’m not going to get it done.) I found a program on Daily OM that fits exactly what I’m looking for, gives me a new sequence every day, and ensures I complete each lesson because I paid a nominal fee for it. And the great part is that once I’m done with this program, I can move on to another without having to put too much thought into it.

2.       I changed my physiology when doing my affirmations. Sometimes to break a rut all you have to do is change your position. Now, instead of sitting at my desk to go through my affirmations, I stand. A simple change but it allows me to go through them with more authority and emotion.

3.       I changed my location for reading. This is another part of my morning routine that I would complete at my desk. The business books that I like to read are in my office so it makes it easy to grab what I need. But over time, I have felt the pull to check my email or work on a project rather than really immerse myself in what I am reading. The solution? Take my book somewhere else. I found that if I read in a different location or even outside, I absorb what I’m reading so much more…and that’s the whole point.

If you find yourself in the middle of a rut doing the things you’ve committed to do as part of your routine, you can mix it up by making the smallest of adjustments. You don’t have to overhaul the whole routine. Little tweaks can make a big impact and get you back to enjoying all of the benefits you wanted when you started your routine in the first place.

Do you have little – or even big – things that you do to help you get out of a rut? I’d love to hear what you do so please drop a line in the comments and share. And if you find yourself actually stuck and can’t get out, feel free to reach out to me at stacy@minerva.partners and I’ll help you out.

Being Grateful – Even for the Bad

grateful

How many of you have either a formal or informal gratitude practice? I think that most of us who have been working on personal development for a while probably have a pretty consistent routine of acknowledging those things we are grateful for.

Your practice probably includes writing down three to five things you are thankful for every day. Or maybe you talk about them at the dinner table each night. Or maybe you have a gratitude journal you write in every day.

You probably started by recognizing the obvious things like a house, a car, food, your family, etc. Over time you needed to get a little more creative and recognize the not so obvious things in order to keep from repeating items. Maybe it was being thankful for electricity, or song birds, or the bad traffic that gave you extra time to practice patience.

What I have found over the years is that it’s pretty easy to practice gratitude when you have good things to be thankful for. But when things move past inconveniences, like bad traffic, to bad things, it becomes a little harder to be grateful.

I heard an interview recently there the discussion was around the practice of gratitude. The interviewee mentioned that his gratitude practice was easy as long as he focused on good or neutral things. But his gratitude practice went to a whole new level when he started being grateful for the bad things. You see, finding gratitude in the bad flexes a muscle that doesn’t come naturally to us as human beings.

I mean you hear stories of individuals who have turned misfortune into something positive. You’ve heard of failures that have turned into huge successes. You’ve heard of injuries and terminal illnesses that have turned into inspirations to others. But how do you do that in your own life?

While I always try to look on the bright side of things, its easier when you are talking about a missed appointment or that job you didn’t get. Its harder when you think of sadness, badness, or tragedy. But there is beauty in the sadness and there is always something to be grateful for, if you really want to find it.

My mother has dementia. She has been battling it for a couple of years and its not getting any easier on any of us, her included. There isn’t much that I can find to be grateful for about dementia. But after hearing the interview I mentioned earlier and being challenged to find gratitude in even the bad things in life, I spent the time to search. I didn’t find it immediately. I didn’t even find it within a few days but after some intense soul searching, I have found it. Her dementia is forcing me to face vulnerability. And vulnerability is something I just don’t do. The problem is, if I don’t allow myself to be vulnerable with her disease, I’m going to miss the best parts of our time left with her.

Not only will I miss it with her, but my refusal to be vulnerable across the board will cause me to miss a lot of gifts through the rest of my life. Because you have to allow vulnerability to allow joy. And I’m grateful for that.

Is Your Life Full of Incompletes?

Incompletes

Raise your hand if you have heard that cluttered spaces lead to a cluttered mind. I’m sure most of you have. Research has shown that whether it be your closet or office desk, excess things in your surroundings can have a negative impact on your ability to focus and process information. That’s exactly what neuroscientists at Princeton University found when they looked at people’s task performance in an organized versus disorganized environment. The results of the study showed that physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased stress.

Did you also know that leaving things that you start in a stage of incomplete does the same thing? When you start something – projects, tasks, relationships, etc. – they go into your memory bank and take up what Jack Canfield calls an “attention unit.” The problem is that you only have so many attention units available at one time. If you use them all up on incomplete items you won’t have enough left over for new opportunities, inspiration, and abundance.

Why is this even a problem? To succeed at anything you must complete it. You have to finish. Unfortunately, most of us get almost to the end and then never actually get it done.

 There are a lot of reasons for leaving things incomplete. Typically, incompletes represent areas where we lack clarity. Sometimes we overcommit and then regret it – so we drag our feet to get it done or avoid it altogether. Sometimes we have to make decisions that are difficult or uncomfortable, so we just let it pile up. Sometimes incompletes come from just not having the right systems in place to make it happen. And sometimes they happen because we have poor work habits.

But whatever the reason, there is a way to break the cycle. Here are a few steps you can take to turn your incompletes to complete.

1.       Take stock of your current incompletes. Just keep a running list of everything you can think of. Don’t forget to include both professional and personal incompletes. For my personal incompletes, I grab a stack of index cards and walk around the house listing the things from each room that need to be addressed. That includes relationships as well.

2.       Implement the 4 Ds. This is a pretty basic management principle. Evaluate every item on your list and decide if it must be done and if it must be done by you (Do it), if it must be done but could be done by someone else (Delegate it), if it must be done but not right now (Delay it), or if it really doesn’t need to be done (Dump it). This is a great way to organize and prioritize your list.

3.       Choose four items and start completing them. Choose items that will immediately free up the most time, energy, or space for you. Your goal should be to complete a major item every quarter and a smaller item every month.

Sounds easy, right? It is! Well, maybe not easy (depending upon your list) but the process is definitely simple. Just remember, when you clear out the old by completing them you make room for the new. It also allows you to operate at a higher vibration because you are showing gratitude through your attention to each item and then completion of each item. For example, completing professional projects shows your gratitude for the work that you do have thus allowing more to come into your life. And, taking care of those household projects shows your gratitude for the possessions you have opening you up to receive more.

I will leave you with this quote from Julia Cameron. “When we clear the physical clutter from our lives, we literally make way for inspiration and good, orderly direction to enter.”

If you need assistance with your incompletes and clutter, please reach out to see how I can help you through that process. I can be reached at stacy@minerva.partners.

Even If You Mess Up, Keep Going (Repost from 3.23.16)

alexa_block

[This is a repost from 2 volleyball seasons ago. I’ve had a few conversations recently that led me to pull this lesson back out as a reminder to all of us.]

I talk a lot about our daughter in my blogs. I can’t help it. I find her to be amazing, intriguing, and witty. I guess you can say she’s pretty much my hero. It seems like every time I turn around, I’m learning something else from her or she’s reinforcing a life lesson that I know deep down to be true but sometimes find it hard to implement. This past weekend was no exception.

Our daughter plays travel volleyball. She works very hard and her dedication is evident in the vast improvement she has made since the beginning of the season. (Oh, and did I mention that she tried out last year and didn’t even make the team? She worked really hard over the summer and ended up making it this season – that’s just another example of her perseverance and maybe a potential topic for a future post.)

Even with all of the improvements this year, she still has a long way to go. One of the areas that we’ve been focusing on is her blocking. She plays middle hitter and is tall enough, jumps high enough, and is fast enough to be an efficient blocker. However, she has been reluctant to be aggressive at the net. She’s afraid she will miss-time her jump or have noodle hands and therefore just mess up the play instead of making one. We spend a lot of time encouraging her with the hopes that she’ll just give it a try on a regular basis.

She recorded her first official block at this past weekend’s tournament! It was amazing and the look on her face was worth a million dollars. Her whole team erupted with cheers and I think she finished the day about a foot taller than she started the day. It was incredible and her excitement was contagious. There was an extra bounce in her step and she can’t wait to get out there and do it again. We may have created a monster!

But, she didn’t just step out on the court that day and get a block the first time she jumped. She had to jump, and jump, and jump before it happened. Here is how it went down.

  1. Don’t think too hard

When she plays on instinct and without fear, she can be a pretty aggressive player at the net. She has been demonstrating this in practice over the past couple of weeks and has been surprising herself with just how effective she can be when she just goes for it. Game time is a whole different ball game because she has been working hard to gain the respect of her teammates, many who have been playing travel ball for a while, and she doesn’t want to make any mistakes and disappoint them.

On her first opportunity to block at the net, she missed and the ball fell behind her. I immediately turned to my husband and said, “She’s thinking too hard.” You could see it all over her face. The second opportunity came and there was a similar result. The third came and she missed again. Three attempts and three failures. Then she stopped trying. Not only did she stop playing at the net on defense, her hitting was less aggressive and you could see her thinking too hard even on that phase of her game.

Over thinking was getting in the way of her instinct. The “what ifs”, doubt that she could execute, and fear of not doing it correctly were keeping her from just going for it. We as adults do this every day. We over think to the point of paralysis. We do this as parents, we do this as employees, we do this as entrepreneurs, and we do this as people. What if I don’t do it perfectly? What if people don’t like what I’m doing? What if I find out I’m not any good at this? The “what ifs” keep us from going for it. Don’t over think it, just do it.

  1. Don’t let naysayers get in your way

As I said earlier, after she missed her first three attempts, she stopped jumping at all. She didn’t look like herself on offense either and I could tell she was pretty disappointed. After the match, I asked her what was going on. She said that after she missed those blocks a couple of her teammates approached her and told her to stop trying to do something that she obviously couldn’t do. They said she was messing it up for the team (even though they won the match) and she needed to stop. They took whatever ounce of confidence that she did have and smashed it. She told me she was not going to attempt to block for the rest of the tournament because it just wasn’t worth it.

We spent some time talking about what happened. We talked about her teammates’ frustrations and then we talked about how to get her back into her game. Eliminating her defensive play at the net was getting her out of her rhythm on the offensive side and that was more damaging than her three missed blocks. We talked about the technical side of her block and she admitted she was putting way too much thought into each jump for fear she would mess up instead of just letting her instinct take over.

She didn’t attempt much else at the net for the rest of the day. She had let her teammates rattle her enough that she wasn’t willing to try. I was disappointed in her reaction but understood. We’ve all been there. I would say that probably everyone reading this has been in a situation where they have ignored their instincts or changed their path because others didn’t think they could do it. No one wants to disappoint those they care about and often times we will lose touch with who we are at our core in order to appease others. That could be through choosing a career path because our parents thought it was the responsible thing to do or marrying a certain person because they come from “good stock” or not reaching outside of our comfort zone because others don’t think we will be successful.

Letting naysayers get the best of us keep us from reaching our potential. Listen to your gut and don’t let the naysayers get in your way. Luckily, last weekend was a two-day tournament and our daughter decided that on day two she was going to ignore the naysayers. (It also didn’t hurt that I bribed her with cash if she got a block. I won’t lie. Bribery can be an effective motivator. I even bribe myself at times to reach the next milestone or take a step outside of my comfort zone. I encourage all of you to try it sometime.)

  1. Visualize, practice, do

In the car to the tournament site on day one, our daughter announced that she thought something big was going to happen during the weekend. She said that different scenarios kept playing through her mind. Either she was going to serve an ace for a match win or she was going to make an awesome dive to save the ball and keep it in play. She didn’t know exactly what it was going to be but she just had this feeling that she was going to make a big play of some sort.

None of those things happened on day one.

In the car to the tournament site on day two, our daughter announced that she still felt like she was going to make a big play. Since it didn’t happen on day one she just knew it would happen on day two.

That was pretty much the end of the conversation.

Before the second set of the final match started, I noticed her standing at the net practicing her blocking. She was jumping with purpose and intention – two things we talk about with blocking all of the time. My husband elbowed me to see if I had noticed what she was doing. I had never seen her do this before so of course I was curious about what was going through that brain of hers. I was hopeful that she had decided to do what she knew she could do and not let her teammates convince her that she couldn’t.

Shortly into that set, it happened! She jumped with purpose and intention and she got her first block. She spun around and looked at the two of us on the sideline with her eyes the size of saucers and the largest smile I have ever seen on her face. Everyone went crazy!

After the match she couldn’t stop talking about it. She said that she just knew that something big was going to happen and so she decided her big thing was going to be to finally get her first block. She said that when she stepped on to the court, she wanted to get that block so badly that she went to the net and practiced while visualizing the ball hitting her hands and going back onto the opponents side of the court. She decided it would happen, she visualized it happening, she practiced for the moment, and she did it.

What big things could you do every day if you decided, visualized, practiced, and took action? I bet the sky is the limit!

  1. Celebrate the little wins – it makes you hungry for more

Not a single person told her, “Well, it’s about time.” They all ran to her and celebrated with her. She didn’t win an Olympic medal with that block. They didn’t even win that match. But she reached a very important milestone in her development as a volleyball player and she accomplished the goal that she set out for herself that day. And it felt good. It felt so good she can’t wait for the opportunity to do it again.

And that’s what happens when you celebrate the little wins. It keeps you motivated and it keeps you hungry for more.

Imagine the greatness you can accomplish in your life if you are willing to not think too hard, not let naysayers get in your way, visualize/practice/do, and celebrate the little wins. Even though she almost let a few mistakes side line her, her desire to reach her personal goal eventually silenced the doubts in her head and silenced the doubts of those around her. If you are committed and passionate about what you do, don’t ever let a few missteps keep you from going forward.

PS: Thanks to my husband for suggesting the topic for this week’s post. You are so great at helping me find inspiration in all that goes on around us.

Do You Have to Be Vulnerable to Be Strong?

vulnerability

Vulnerability is an area that I struggle with. You see, I grew up in the era of “never let them see you sweat”. I mean, I’m not going to lie about any of my weaknesses but I’m certainly not comfortable with just handing them over to you.

What if people judge me? What if my vulnerability undermines my credibility? What if they figure out that I really don’t have my crap together?

After all, Merriam-Webster defines vulnerable as “being open to attack”. And who wants that? Certainly not me.

I feel compelled to discuss vulnerability in this post because of three conversations that all took place within a week of each other. These conversations have encouraged me to look closer at vulnerability and in particular, my vulnerability.

The first occurred in a group discussion setting. I facilitate a discussion series on a pre-selected book. The book we are currently reading is full of exercises and self-discovery for the purpose of leading our most successful lives. Our very first week we were tasked with identifying areas in our life that need improvement and what we were willing to do to take responsibility for that improvement.

We were encouraged to share our thoughts with the entire group. I went first. And of course, I played it safe by sharing something easy. To be fair, I’m leading the discussion and its with a group of women I’ve never met before. No need for them to question whether or not I know what I’m doing by throwing my biggest area for improvement out on the table.

We went around the table with others playing it safe as well. Then one woman answered in the most honest way a person could answer. She shared something that could have been really easy to pass judgement on. She didn’t down play it. She just said it was a real issue and she needed to take responsibility to fix it. Then she apologized by saying, “maybe that was too personal for the first day.”

But then a beautiful thing happened. The next person looked at her and said, “thank you for being so real. I was going to share something little but it wasn’t what I really wanted to share. Because you just gave us the gift of your vulnerability, I’m going to say what I really want to work on.”

Vulnerability is a gift.

The second conversation was with an entrepreneur who shared that her drive to succeed in her business caused her marriage to fall apart. She was ashamed that she was the one who had caused it because she wasn’t able to balance it all. But she wanted to share her experience just in case someone else was struggling to balance it all as well.

Vulnerability is honest.

The third conversation was with a client who is struggling to present her services to the world because she feels like her life is a mess. She is concerned that people will see her as a fraud because they will see through her and see the mess. But the truth is, we are all messes. And seeing her triumph over her personal mess will encourage others to take on theirs.

Vulnerability is encouragement.

I’ve sat on this topic for a few days not really knowing what to do with it. This morning I was reading my daily devotion before I started writing and I was struck by the message. The biblical passage was 2 Corinthians 12:10. “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” The author of this verse is Paul. Paul is saying that he delights in his weaknesses because they give him opportunities to showcase God’s grace and power.

My additional takeaways from this reading were:

·       Being transparent builds trust

·       Sharing weakness makes me more approachable and less intimidating

·       Being vulnerable encourages vulnerability in others

·       That when I am weak, I am strong

While I appreciate and respect the vulnerability in others, I know that I will have to put conscious effort into my willingness to share my own vulnerability simply because it’s a defense mechanism I have used my whole life. But today I found a new definition for vulnerable and I’m going to try to focus on it instead of the old definition.

The Urban Dictionary defines vulnerable as “someone who is completely and rawly open, unguarded with their heart, mind, and soul – being vulnerable happens when you trust completely.”

And that’s the type of vulnerability – that’s the type of strength – I want to shine through me.