Lighten Your Load

Woman Sitting At Window And Looking At Beautiful Beach View

 

It’s Spring and on every glossy magazine delivered to my mailbox I notice a common theme. As Martha Stewart expresses it: “There are few rites of spring more satisfying than the annual clean.” Okay, I get it, and buy into it.  We are in the season to clean, purge and get beautifully organized. It is amazing how much energy we free up when we lighten our load. But beyond material things, other issues need examining.

Think about the emotional clutter you carry around internally.  What issues have you left unresolved? Are there situations you should deal with but continue to tolerate, thus giving away your power? Should you be letting go of something or someone?

Happy woman holding balloons and jumping in the air

Do you keep looking back rather than living in the present moment? Are you tightly holding on to resentments instead of forgiving and freeing this emotional baggage?

Once you have identified these problems, fears and anxieties, the next step is to write down the critical items prohibiting your peace of mind. Then ask yourself…what is the solution? Prioritize the list. Start working on what bothers you most. For example, does someone need your forgiveness, or do you need to be pardoned? Forgiveness can reset our mental focus. The original Sanskrit meaning of forgiveness is to untie. Once you untie the chocking hold of anger you will free your mind and release stress.

Is it time to stop withholding your voice? That means you must face situations by taking your power back.

woman staying on sailboat

Stand up and be heard. Do not allow fear to block possibilities. Be ready to win respect by acting on your convictions. Remember, it is not your job to keep everyone happy. Your mission is to be true to yourself. Have you been playing it safe for fear of being hurt? Reflect on your strengths, and then pick up where you left off before you caved and relinquished your power.

My final word on lightening your load is to stop starting projects on a whim. Should you spend the afternoon creating a gourmet dessert to take to the dinner party,

Chocolate cake, close-up
Chocolate cake, close-up

or make a quick stop at the nearest bakery? Must you really hand knit your son a sweater, or will store-bought do?  Packing those unnecessary jobs into an already overloaded day only adds to your stress level.

Here is my suggestion. Make a pitcher of lemonade and

little girl trying to sell lemonade

settle into a cozy chair on your patio as you stretch out with a good book and breathe a sigh of contentment.

Congratulations, you are on the right path to lightening your load!

Boycott Your Inner Critic

believe in yourself
Recently I interviewed a young man in his early 30’s who was auditioning for a local talent show. He told me for the past seven years he dreamt of mustering up enough courage attend the try-outs. I asked him what provided the impetus to act on this dream. Flashing a wise grin he stated he finally started believing in himself. I heartily applauded that positive statement. Putting yourself out there takes a major dose of self-belief.

If you visit my office, you will notice a large sign that simply states: Believe. I’ve hung it on the wall to remind me and my clients to stop doubting. Too often we give in to self sabotage.
Believe
So how do we get beyond our internal negative thoughts? Our 30 something entertainer used a simple technique very powerful in developing and maintaining self esteem. He stopped listening to his nagging inner critic. We all have one. I’ve even given mine a name: Stormy. From time to time my gremlin swoops in over-stocked with gloom and doom, always predicting failure.
crazy monster
I’ve learned to recognize the negative voice in my head and send that bully packing. Like Stormy, all inner gremlins are fear based. They thrive on status quo wanting nothing to do with progress and change.

Successful people possess a commonality regarding belief. They have learned to ignore the critics in their head and staunchly refuse to let an ounce of doubt enter the picture. My six year old niece, Alina, is the poster child for believing she is capable of anything.
Child superhero portrait
The giant-sized moxie in her pint-sized package is most impressive. I’m certain when Alina’s gremlin comes calling she just bursts out in fits of giggles thinking, don’t be silly, of course I can do that.

Whether you’re six or ninety-six, if you are auditioning for a Broadway musical or interviewing for a job as design engineer, the key to accomplishing your dreams is confidence. Internal and external critics cannot drag you down without your consent. You are in control. When your gremlin tries to dissuade you from accomplishing your dreams, remember the sage advice from one of the masters, Vincent Van Gogh, “If you hear a voice within you say you can’t paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”

Getting ready to put yourself out there and strut your stuff? I applaud you. Begin by flexing your self esteem muscle. Then wear your confidence like armor and rock it!

A Plan to Trump Fear

Business person stepping up a hand drawn staircase in the nature
The other day at a family outing I observed Alina, my fearless four year old niece, who thinks all things are possible. The group gathered together to help a friend move. Alina takes any challenge seriously. First she assessed the situation to understand the process. After contemplating for a few moments, she strode up to the burly guys moving large boxes off the truck and in a voice bigger than her small stature commanded, “Give me some of that stuff. I can handle it.”
Fun Little Girl with Big Colourful Shopping Bags.
Not all of us have the self-confidence of a four year old. I asked Barbara, a successful consultant at Nerium International, who serves with me on the board of the American Business Women’s Association , if her courage to confront daunting goals came naturally. With a wise smile, she shared her story with me. As an extremely shy child, Barb found it difficult be assertive as a young adult. Instinctively, she knew in order to overcome shyness, she needed to challenge herself by creating a scenario that forced her to engage with strangers.

Barb’s solution was to apply for a position in sales with a consumer credit reporting company requiring her to call on prospective clients including banks, and credit unions. Her job was to visit a potential client, introduce herself, connect with the management and determine if the company she represented could provide their services. Often the job required Barbara to make a presentation to the client’s employees.
Credit Report Concept

Barb’s plan worked. Knowing that assertiveness was part of the job description forced her to accomplish something very scary or face termination. Without the conditional pressure to conquer her fear of shyness, Barb may have remained in her shell. By flexing that ‘assertive muscle’ everyday, she gained increased confidence. As a bonus, Barb became a competent speaker. My friend admits to getting a few butterflies before speaking to a group, but she has learned how to move through her fear and deliver an impactful seminar.

Someone once said, “Fears are like annoying relatives. Ignoring them will not make them go away.” Facing your fear head on as Barbara did is a viable way to deal with those demons who make your heart race and your palms sweaty. Successful individuals like Barb know that forcing yourself to take on a challenge is the pathway to eliminating barriers.

Dr. Phil McGraw, psychologist and American television personality points out although many different types of fears exist, the common denominator is one phobia: the fear of either losing control or being out of control. Many of us fear that if we step out of our comfort zone we may lose control. That phobia prevents us from accomplishing our goals.

Take a moment to focus on your worse fear. Select one that serves as a roadblock to realizing your dreams. Perhaps you feel deserving of a promotion but you lack the courage to approach your boss. Maybe you are interested in community theater but are too timid to sign up for try-outs. Whatever it is, know that the worst case scenario, like your boss laughing you out of her office will probably not occur. And if it did, it might trigger the impetus you need to find a company where your work would be valued and appreciated.

So, muster up little courage like Barbara and make a plan. Borrow a little moxie from your four-year old inner child and know all things truly are possible. Just take a deep breath, and initiate the first step. Once you realize the power in confronting those debilitating doubts, your confidence will soar and eventually your dreams become reality.