5 Ways to Move into Your Season

As we usher in spring, I feel led to ask you, “Is it time to usher in a new season in your life?”  There are few things more frustrating than remaining stuck in the old when it’s time to embrace something new.  Sometimes the new thing is an inevitable change or transition, whether it was something you wanted or something that was thrust upon you. At other times, your new season is a goal you’ve been working towards, but now it’s time to notice that the thing you wished for is here.  You’ll have to shift your thinking so you can enjoy the vision that has finally come to fruition.  Whether your new season is related to your career, relationships, finances or health, consider these five ways to successfully step into a new phase of your life:

1. Say good-bye to the last season. In order to fully embrace what’s new, mark your passage from one season into the next.  If a child is about to head off to college, plan for a celebration to mark the milestone.  If you are moving from one place to another, acknowledge it in a meaningful way.  If you have lost someone or something important to you, grieve your loss so that you can eventually move forward in a healthy way.

2.  Embrace the new season. Once you’ve said good-bye, say “hello” to what’s new.  Dive in. Consider the things you are able to do now that you couldn’t before.  If you’re entering a difficult season, identify and embrace the help you will need to give you strength and perseverance.  Acknowledge your challenges, but be sure to open your eyes and notice the blessings, too.

3.  Ask, “What new habits do I need in this new season?” What worked in the last season, may not work in this new season. It’s like using your old house key to try to open the door to your new home.  What got you in the door there won’t work here.  Be flexible and adopt the new habits that will empower you to thrive in this new season.

4.  Ask, “Who do I need to connect with in this new season?” Relationships matter.  Don’t go it alone.  Reach out and connect with those who can help you and whom you can help.  When facing a major change, it’s your ability to connect with the right people that can make the difference between a smooth transition and a bumpy one.

5.  Ask, “What vision am I moving towards in my new season?” Often a new season means a new identity in some way.  Perhaps your role has changed, relationships have been severed, a job was lost or a move has put you in a totally new environment.  You may have had a vision – and even achieved it – in the previous season of your life, but now it’s time for something different.  Your old vision may not work in this new place.  What’s your new vision now?

 

My challenge to you this week: Let go of the old. Take hold of the new!

 

Journaling assignment: What new season are you stepping into? What new habits do you need? Who do you need to connect with? What’s your vision at this next stage? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you!

Own Your Part

When I went through the most difficult challenge of my life, I made these five commitments that helped me come back better and not bitter. I shared them in a subsequent book, Where Will You Go From Here?: Moving forward when life doesn’t go as planned.

  • I will not feel sorry for myself.
  • I will not stare at the closed door.
  • I will direct my thoughts. My thoughts will not direct me.
  • I will dig deep to unearth all the courage I need.
  • I choose to believe all things work together for good.

But this week, I feel compelled to challenge you to consider one more commitment to help you grow through your mistakes and challenges:  Own the role you played in your setback.  Own it. Not to beat yourself up, but to avoid repeating the mistake.  Owning your role means letting go of blame.

The most successful people in life are often the ones who fail the most. They overcome their fears and go for it – whatever “it” is. They live fully, not wanting to fail, but also not afraid to fail.  They know that failure and mistakes offer the opportunity to make tweaks by learning what works well and what doesn’t.

What setback or challenge are you dealing with right now? What role did you play in the situation? What would shift if you admitted your role? When the situation involves others, and you seem to be at an impasse, it is powerful to simply acknowledge the role you played in the whole situation. It requires humility. It requires honesty. Both humility and honesty open the door to authentic relationships.  You can be dead wrong, but if you own your part, grace and forgiveness can emerge.  “I was so wrong about that. I am sorry.  Here’s what I would like to do moving forward.”

When the setback or mistake affects only you, you need to be just as humble and honest with yourself. In my biggest life setback, I did all that I could to fix the problem. Much of the problem wasn’t anything I created. It was simply the circumstances that presented themselves. However, there was one part I could own:  I didn’t wait on God before I had proceeded down the path that created the problem in the first place. In other words, if I had been patient, the whole mess would have never occurred. It wasn’t something I liked admitting, but it is was empowering because with one decision I could have saved myself the big mess I had to clean up.  It was a new perspective that gave me new wisdom that empowered me to make the right decision the next time around.

I don’t know what situation this applies to in your life right now, but I hope you’ll stop a moment and consider the way in which it is time to own your part. Let go of the blame and think critically about your choices. You have the power to change your entire life, but only when you look honestly at the choices you make and make adjustments that empower you to make better choices as you learn and grow along your journey.

My challenge to you this week: Own your part in the challenges you face.

Journaling assignment: What setback or challenge are you dealing with right now? What role did you play in the situation? What would shift if you admitted your role? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you.

Stop Overthinking It

In a conversation with an old friend this week, I was reminded of my own advice as I shared with her about a decision I was making. “What are you waiting for? The timing couldn’t be any more perfect!” she said. “If I’m honest, I guess I have some fear about it,” I admitted, to her dismay. “You? What are you talking about? You are one of the most courageous people I know!” she said emphatically. Unbeknownst to her, the conviction of her statement woke something inside of me. “You don’t let fear stop you. What are you talking about?”

Her words were few, but they were the jolt I needed. Sometimes, you need to be reminded of who you are and your track record of perseverance. If you’re still here, you’ve no doubt conquered some big decisions. If you are in decision mode this week, I want to remind you of this:

It’s possible to think too hard about a decision.

If it is time to move forward, yet you find yourself going back to the drawing board, asking the same questions, mulling over what’s already been mulled over, you’re probably thinking too hard. If the decision is important to you, fear is inevitable. But it’s not a stop sign. Your decision could be a next step that takes you from one season into the next. There will be some uncertainty. You will be out of your comfort zone. But soon enough, you’ll have a new comfort zone – and a new reality. It’s all a part of the process. Embrace it. Make your move. Expect fear. And do it anyway.

My challenge to you this week:
Don’t overthink it. Move forward with the decision that’s pressing you.

Journal about it:
What decision are you overthinking? What are you afraid will happen if you move forward with your decision now? Who is the wise friend who can speak truth that will encourage you to stop procrastinating and start moving forward? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you!

4 Signs You’re Not Trusting Your Instincts

A few days ago, I felt moved to post this on Facebook:

“You know truth when you see it. Your spirit knows. Stop doubting and over analyzing. Trust your instincts.”

It is a simple truth, but one we often need to be reminded of.  If you’ve ever second guessed yourself only to remember later why you should not second guess yourself, you understand why being reminded of the power of trusting your instincts is so important. I believe our instincts are a divine gift – a sixth sense, the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  It isn’t always explainable, but it always powerful. This week, I want to remind you to trust your instincts on that decision you are making, that relationship you’re contemplating, or that conversation it’s time to have.  Pray about it. Listen, not just with your ears, but with your spirit. And muster the courage to act on it.  If you don’t, you’ll likely regret it – just like you have before.

We often don’t trust our instincts because of past mistakes. But if you are truly honest, you might just realize that in those past “mistakes,” your instincts were not wrong. They were ignored. Telling yourself the truth is the first step to getting unstuck.  Often, the truth is that we had a nagging feeling about the relationship, but moved forward anyway. We didn’t really want to take that job, but we didn’t have the patience or boldness to go for what we really wanted.  We didn’t feel at peace about that decision, but let someone talk us into. If you had followed your intuition, the outcome may indeed have been different. Consider these four signs that you’re not trusting your instincts, and this week, make a commitment to pay attention:

  • You have that nagging feeling. You know the feeling? Don’t do that. Something’s not quite right. The timing is off. Pay attention to those divine nudges in your spirit. If you don’t feel at peace about something, don’t move forward.

 

  • You’re busy asking everyone’s opinion. If the right decision isn’t necessarily the popular decision (especially if you are an approval addict), it can be tempting to seek other opinions. Wise counsel is good. People pleasing is not. Get off the phone, stop asking for opinions, and get quiet. Notice the answer that presents itself when you listen to that still, small voice.

 

  • The truth makes you uncomfortable. Sometimes your instincts lead you in a direction that stretches you beyond your comfort zone. And that will always make you UN-comfortable. That nagging truth might be inconvenient, but the sooner you acknowledge it, the better off you’ll be.
    You can either deal with it now or deal with it later.

 

  • You are overly-logical. Don’t get me wrong. Logic has its place. We must be strategic. But sometimes the pivotal decisions in life are not the most obvious. They are leaps of faith. You won’t always be able to figure it all out ahead of time. Take it one step at a time.

 

My challenge to you:
Get quiet.  Trust your instincts.

Journal about it:
What is the truth that your spirit knows, but you are doubting and overanalyzing? What action would that truth lead you to take? Is it time to act on the truth? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you!

 

Guesting hosting the Roland Martin Show on Wednesday from 10am-1pm Eastern

Tune in and call in on Wednesday when I’ll be guest hosting The Roland Martin Show, simageyndicated in 26 cities, and live online from 10am-1pm Eastern! Are you ready to get unstuck, be happier and take a leap of faith to radically change your life? I’ll be talking with inspiring guests who’ve done just that – authors Taft Quincey Heatley, Sophia Nelson, Dr. Ro, and Genette Howard. It’ll be an inspiring three hours. If you don’t get the show locally, TuneIn to Empowerment Radio Network and listen from your smartphone or tablet with this app …

https://appsto.re/us/_7t-y.i

It’s Not Too Late!

During a radio interview, a caller asked me if it was too late – in her forties – to change careers and pursue something for which she is passionate. “It’s never too late,” I told her. “If you feel led in a new direction, make a plan to transition and go for it!” Her call came as no surprise. Many of you – some in your twenties, others in your sixties – have sent me emails wondering if it’s too late to make a change – too late to change jobs, save a relationship or plan for retirement.

This week, I challenge you to let go of the idea that it’s too late to change the course of your life. In a world that pressures us to believe everything must happen in a compressed time frame, it can feel as though it is “against the rules” to follow a path that is outside the norm. It can especially feel like it is unacceptable to change your mind about what you want in life. But often, God will lead you in a new direction once you’ve learned all that you were supposed to learn at a particular stage in your life.

What have you previously decided it was too late for you to do? Is it time to reconsider? Let this message rekindle your desire for change. Give yourself permission to dream a bigger dream and walk a divinely-inspired path that is uniquely your own.

It’s not too late to try something new. In fact, life becomes stagnant when you get stuck in a rut. It’s tempting to give up on the idea that you could have what you really want in your life, but you don’t have to give in to that temptation. Your journey becomes richer and more joyful when you remain open to your possibilities. Here are a few things it’s not too late for you to do. Print it out and add a few items of your own if you wish.

It’s not too late for you to:

  • Change careers.
  • Go back to school.
  • Fall in love.
  • Apologize to someone you hurt.
  • Forgive someone who hurt you.
  • Plan a trip to your dream destination.
  • Have children (even if it’s biologically impossible, the child you were meant to raise may be waiting to be adopted by you.)
  • Start saving for retirement.
  • Get fit.
  • Start taking better care of yourself.
  • Turn your finances around.
  • Deepen your relationship with God.
  • Change your attitude or your perspective on life.

 

Journaling assignment: What have you deemed it too late to do? How would it feel for you to experience that opportunity after all? What will you do to move towards it?

My challenge to you this week: Make a decision to open your mind to new possibilities. Take a step in the direction of your potential. Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you!

FREE Download: 7 Secrets of Highly Successful Coaches

Hundreds registered for the powerful teleclass, Seven Secrets of Highly Successful Coaches, yesterday! For those of you who missed it, here’s the link to download it for FREE! Our next Coach Training Intensive will be held June 6 – 8, 2015 in Atlanta. It is a life-transforming weekend. Click here for details.

What if it Does Work?

Fear. It creeps up on us, often without a sound. It asks, “What if everything goes wrong?” “What if I fail?” “What if I never get what I want?” And disastrous answers to those questions can send us down a path of negative thinking that spirals out of control. Psychologists call it “catastrophizing.” Next time it happens, stop fear in its path with an opposite question: What if it does work out?

What if you succeed? What if you finally get what you want? What if things go right? Asking these questions gives you a sudden burst of energy. That energy is hope. It can feel like a small light in a dark place. What if your idea does manifest into all you have hoped? What if that relationship does work out? What if your persistence despite your discouragement does pay off? What then? Then, perhaps it will all have been worth it.

This is not to say you should never have a contingency plan. But you can’t live life simply avoiding your fears. Living and working with passion means giving your all because you believe in the possibility of success. You hold more closely to your dreams and desires than your fears and doubts. So in this moment, I invite you to consider the challenge or possibility that causes you the most doubt or anxiety. You know the one, that thing that causes the persistent question, “What if it doesn’t work out the way I hope?” And ask the opposite question: What if it does work out the way I hope? Don’t just ask the question. Imagine your answer in depth. Take a moment right now. Imagine what it would look like for things to work out. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. What would it feel like? Really imagine yourself there. Imagine who is with you. What you are doing. How things are different than they are in this moment.

Now, move forward focused on the possibilities for your success. Allow your motivation to be a spirit of faith rather than a spirit of fear.

My challenge to you this week:
Choose optimism. Stop obsessing about what might go wrong, and put your energy into what could go right.

Journaling question:
Consider the thing in your life you most want, but are afraid you will not get. What if it DOES work out? What will that look like? What action can you take that will demonstrate you are operating in faith rather than fear? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you!   

Is it the Wise Thing or Just the Next Thing?

“I guess it just seemed like the next thing to do.” That’s how a man recently described how he ended up in a marriage that didn’t last long. Eleven months, to be exact. “We had been dating for a few years.” In other words, the couple bought into the idea of a pre-determined path. The result was disastrous.

Dating isn’t the only area of life in which choosing the “next thing” doesn’t equate to choosing the “wise thing.” It can happen in a career that wasn’t your dream, but somehow, you just keep progressing – not really wanting the promotions and the added responsibility, but pulled forward by a progressive series of steps that lead you further away from your heart’s true desire. Even in the simple everyday matters of life, like meal choices. Dessert might be the next thing the waiter offers at your favorite restaurant, but not necessarily the wise choice for that health goal you set.

If you are going to live a life that excites you, the life you were created for, you must be intentional about it. Every day, that means making wise choices.  Wise choices aren’t just good choices. They aren’t just the right thing to do. They aren’t simply a choice you can “get away with.”  Wise choices consider the discernment and insight that reflects lessons learned, weaknesses that can trip you up, and the desires you say you want to fulfill.

So consider the decisions you need to make this week – whether the simple ones or life-changing.  Especially notice the ones that you’ve put on automatic pilot. Autopilot is only good if it ultimately lands the plane at the right destination.  If instead, you find yourself repeatedly back at a place you don’t want to be, it’s time to consciously question your choices.  Get quiet. Then ask, “What’s the wise choice?”

My challenge to you this week:
Consciously choose to do what is wise, rather than simply what is next.

Journaling assignment:
In what area(s) of your life do you tend to do the “next thing,” even though it is not the “wise thing”?  What would be the wise thing?  What change would you need to make in order to consciously do the wise thing? When will you make that change? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you!

Not Everyone Deserves Your Words or Energy

“Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent…” – Proverbs 17:28

Have you ever found yourself with the perfect comeback for someone, but circumstances preclude you from perfect opportunity to utter it?  In your mind, you have a well-thought out lecture that person needs to hear. I mean, if they could just get your eye-opening revelations, they could finally get it together! But the more you think about it, the more you realize that your words will be nothing more than wasted breath – and maybe the spark for more drama. Sometimes, you must come to the realization that getting others to fix themselves is not your responsibility.

It may sound harsh, but this week, I feel led to remind you that not all life lessons are about positivity. Some are about preservation. Your energy is powerful.  Don’t give it away too easily. Your energy includes your words, your time, money, contacts and other resources.  Recognize its value and spend it on people and things that give you a return on your investment. If you give it away to people who do not deserve it, you’ll waste this precious resource and wonder why you don’t have enough energy for the people and things you say matter most.  When a situation deserves your energy, here’s what you’ll notice:

  • You are energized by engaging with the person, group or situation.
  • Even if you cannot see the outcome today, you know your energy is being spent on a worthwhile endeavor.
  • Your words and energy are moving you towards a solution, not fruitless debate or new problems.
  • You feel divinely-led to spend your energy there. It is purposeful.
  • I’m one of those people who probably gives more chances than I should, but when I’m done, I’m really done. I move on knowing that there is nothing more I could have done. I have no guilt. I don’t have to second guess myself. And typically, I get confirmation that my decision was the right one. This is because people who push your boundaries don’t stop being who they are just because you wise up.  Sometimes, silence is your answer. Preserve your words and energy.  Redirect them towards something fruitful. I don’t know where this message applies in your life right now, but I believe you are crossing paths with these words because it is time to be more discerning about who and what gets your energy. Pay attention.

    My challenge to you this week:
    Invest your energy in what you want, not what you don’t want. Be discerning about who and what deserves a response and what doesn’t.

    Journaling assignment:
    What situation or person entices you to move into a negative energy state? What would it look like to drop the issue and moved on?  What deserves your positive energy instead? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you!