Change to The Future

Grabbing a magazine I stuffed it in my purse on my way out the door. I knew there would be a wait and it was an ideal time to catch up on reading one of the many periodicals delivered to my door. Full disclosure, I had to force myself to select this particular magazine.

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I hadn’t read an issue in months and I knew why. The publication converted from a typical shiny cover to a stock parchment with a different look and feel. Even the pages between the cover lost their luster.

As I began leafing through the periodical in search of an interesting article, I soon settled on one about an editor who attempted to conquer her biggest fear: performing stand-up comedy. By third paragraph I forgot about missing the tactical feel of the journal.  After reading three articles in the time allotted, I experience an “aha” moment. When I stopped to think about the untouched back issues piling up in my office, I realized I was avoiding change. Something that was no longer shiny, smooth and familiar was left ignored because it was different.

Having prided myself on being a change agent, I was faced with a reality causing me to examine some other areas of my life. Running through my memory bank I wondered, did I always drive the same route, hang out with the same friends and frequent the same restaurants? Had I stopped searching out the new and different?

choose change to future or same the past

At the end of my reverie I came up guilty as charged. I sighed and vowed to start changing things up in my everyday life.

Why do we avoid change? The answer is easy. It takes energy. It means removing ourselves from auto-pilot. I’ve read enough books about changing habits to know the limbic part of our brain doesn’t like change and would be blissfully happy to do the same things over and over again.

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Want to change something in your life? Here’s the good news. There are only three parts to implementing change: desire, intent and persistence.  You must do the work; it doesn’t happen on its own.

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Be like the editor who changed her behavior and ended up on an improv stage in a Dallas comedy house. Okay, perhaps stand-up isn’t your game, but you can experience and accomplish something new and different. So kick it up a notch or two and make your life more exciting.

Don’t try, just do. I did. Sometimes even a life coach needs some inspiration and I found it in the book: “The 52 Weeks: How Two Women Got Unstuck, Got Inspired and Got Going,” by Pam Godwin and Karen Amster-Young. Since breezing through this manual on moving forward, I’ve changed my hair style, revamped my wardrobe and as you’ve discovered by now, arranged for my blog to have a facelift.

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The process has been fun and invigorating. So what changes will you make in your life this week? Leave a comment and let me know. I encourage you to move out of your comfort zone and go where the magic happens.

P.S. A big shout out to Online Business Manager, Kippy Flur who gave Life on The Sunny Side a new look!

Ignite Your Passion

set your goals

On the way to the airport an enthusiastic cabbie entertained me explaining in detail his passion for soccer. Over the course of a twenty minute ride, I learned a good deal about the sport most countries, with the exception the USA, refer to as football.  Martin, my driver, who originally hails from Kenya, offered up at least seventeen reasons why soccer is the world’s most popular sport. When I inquired how often he plays the game, he looked at me sheepishly. Meeting my puzzled expression young Martin wistfully replied maybe someday he’ll get on the field again to boot the ball into the net.

While my plane departed from the gate I pondered the reasons people fail to pursue their passions. Each 24-hour period gives us an opportunity to push ourselves beyond the norm. Why not use that time pursuing goals that bring us joy and satisfaction? What stops us?

Excuses
Sure, we can feed ourselves the line that we are beyond busy, but we know that is just a lame excuse. Growing up, whenever I complained I was too busy to tackle a job, my mother stopped me in my tracks by reminding me if I wanted something badly enough I could make the time to do it. Yes, dismissing my excuses with a little tough love worked wonders.

Fear of Failure
As a career coach, I find fear of failure is often a stumbling block preventing individuals from pursuing their heart’s desire. I know, sometimes looking at the big picture of a total career makeover is scary. My advice to anyone faced with a challenge appearing insurmountable is: Think small. That’s right, small as in baby steps. Whether it’s a career change, a move across the country or tackling a remodel on your home, the magic begins when you break it down into actionable steps.

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Getting Started
Another common lament is not knowing where to begin. Professional tennis player Arthur Ashe put it best when he said, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Getting started need not be complicated. Take some time to brainstorm a path then commit it to writing. You can always make course corrections along the way. Just begin.

As I said good-bye to Martin at the airport I offered up two tips. The first, a monetary thank you for his safe driving and soccer tutorial. My second tip, which I also offer anyone reading this column is…

motivational message live your dream

take one of your “maybe someday dreams” and turn it into a reality. No more procrastinating! Start today by implementing one small step.  Just one action and you are on the road to success. Go for it! I know you can do it!

Labeling a Winner

Recently I clicked on an interesting blog about a young man who at the age of fourteen set a goal of getting straight A’s throughout high school. It sounded like an admirable achievement so I read on to observe his strategy.

Steven attained success by employing two distinct methodologies. After considerable research and reflection of his past grades, he discovered students who earn lower grades employ last minute study habits. Attempting to tackle assignments at the eleventh hour adds an element of pressure. Kids who do so often end up frazzled and tired when sitting for an exam. What is key to an A student’s approach is immediate learning and processing of new information.

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Okay, that’s not rocket science. Anyone who has ever popped No Doz and pulled an all-nighter can testify to the stupidity of the process. Sure you may end up passing with a mediocre grade, but studies performed at UCLA claim inadequate sleep patterns cause a compounded issue. Habits of cramming and sleep deprivation result in greater academic problems.

The flip side of avoiding last minute cramming into the wee hours of the morning is keeping up with assignments on a daily basis, a process Steven took seriously. Before engaging in playing any video games, he completed his homework. Again, not an earth shattering breakthrough approach, just a matter of establishing an uncomplicated habit.

What really impressed me about Steven’s commitment to earning straight A’s was a mindset shift involving a new label. He began thinking of himself as an A student. 4.0 became more than a goal, it was his identity.

Adopting a new persona was a theory worth testing, and I did. After contemplating this approach, I purchased a new workout shirt that reads: #Fierce. It is pink and cute and something new to wear to the gym a place I dread but am forced to frequent because “The Punisher,” my personal trainer, (AKA Brad Kingsberg of Nutri-Power Fitness) expects me to show up.  But here’s the thing, I now have a new label. When I brand myself #Fierce, I act the part

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performing more like an individual who enjoys pumping iron and strength training than a sleep deprived class C student who can barely make it through the last set of chest flies.

Want to change the way life is grading you? Change your label. You can over-perform in school, at work or on the playing field. Begin by instituting some positive habits, and be sure to create a new winning identity.