Humility and the Right Place

To say my first year of college was a humbling experience is an understatement.  I went from a high school career good enough to get me into one of the toughest universities in the nation to spending an entire year on academic probation.  I don’t mean “I got a D in one class” academic probation. I mean, like, “I’m failing two classes and thank God swimming is a class because it’s my only hope for a B” academic probation.

Other stuff stressed me out that year, too. Like the average four hours of sleep a night I was getting. Like my parents’ divorce during my first semester. Like the day I was so buckled over with pain on the lower, right side of my abdomen that I had to be wheeled into the emergency room because I could not stand up. They thought maybe it was my appendix. Turned out I needed surgery for an ovarian cyst that burst that morning as I was preparing to march to breakfast with my squadron.  The rigorous physical and military schedule was tough, but that wasn’t what stressed me most. It was the fact that nothing came naturally to me in that environment. It was a true honor to be at the Air Force Academy, but it wasn’t my calling.  Truth is, if I had done well academically, I would have stayed rather than leaving after my first year.  Sometimes you have to fail miserably to be forced onto your right path.

This week, I want to remind you that sometimes an intense struggle isn’t God’s way of teaching you something, but rather God’s way of telling you that are moving in the wrong direction. Rather than forcing something that doesn’t fit or beating yourself up for “not being good enough,” why not ask this question:  Is it possible that there is a better path for me?  One that aligns with my unique gifts and strengths? And if so, what is it?

You must find the right place for you. Whether in your career or relationships, the place that looks impressive to everyone else, may not be the right place for you. A good place isn’t the same as the right place.

 

My challenge to you:
If you’re moving in the wrong direction, be humble and willing to change course.

Journaling assignment:
In what way(s) are you forcing something to happen that simply is not a good fit? In what way(s) does pride (or caring too much about what others think) keep you moving in a direction that is not meant for you?  What new direction might it be time to embrace? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you!

It’s Time to Make a Bold Decision!

I’m not sure who this message is for, but I felt a strong urge to write it, so since you’re reading it, perhaps I wrote it just for you. It’s short and sweet. Enjoy…

A real sign of growing up spiritually and emotionally occurs when you stop making decisions based on everyone else’s expectations. You end unhealthy relationships, take a leap of faith towards a new career path, or speak up for what is right. Some decisions in life are tough. Some conversations are uncomfortable. Some choices will not be popular. And yet, there are moments when you are called to go against popular opinion and stand apart from the crowd. When you lay your head down at night, there is no better feeling than being at peace with God. If you must compromise that peace in order to please others, you’ve compromised everything. Don’t do it.

This week, I feel led to encourage you to be bold and courageous in your decisions. Pray. Listen. Don’t overanalyze. Don’t “super-spiritualize” it either. Sometimes we pray for an answer, and when the prayers get answered through a person or event or opportunity, we don’t recognize it because it’s not a booming voice coming down from heaven. Use your common sense. Some decisions don’t require prayer when God has blessed you with the common sense to make the right choice. As a friend once told me as I agonized over making a change, “You’re like the frog in a pot of cool water who didn’t notice that the heat had been turned up and the water was starting to boil. All he had to do is jump out of the pot!”

Don’t worry about what others think. Do what you know is right. Your choices are between you and God. No one else has to live your life – or your consequences.

My challenge to you this week:
Rather than people-pleasing, be bold and courageous in your decisions.

Journaling assignment:
What decision am I hesitating about? Who am I trying to please? In my current situation, what would a bold and courageous decision look like? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you!

Trigger Your Happiness with this One Habit

Around 2 o’clock this afternoon, after a day in the house doing laundry, sorting bills and writing, I stepped out on my back deck for a break.  May is finally here. The April rain is gone. And I needed a fix for the vitamin D deficiency my doctor just told me I have.  Take a supplement, he suggested. But being the outdoors girl I am, I asked if I could just spend some extra minutes in the sun. He said yes.

As I sat on the deck and turned my phone on, the rays of sun beaming down felt more like July than May. I tried to ignore it, but sweat beads soon started forming around the edges of my baseball cap.  I don’t know where you live, but here in Georgia, it feels like summer is here – 90 degrees in fact.  And that reminds me of all the fun stuff that is ahead.

My favorite happiness trigger is anticipation.  If you want to boost your happiness in a major way this spring, start creating some things to look forward to this summer.  Think about how you want to feel, then pinpoint the activities that will bring that feeling.  Want more adventure in your life? Perhaps it’s time for a road trip with your girlfriends?  Want to feel totally relaxed. Perhaps it’s time for a full vacation – not just a couple of days, but a week or (gasp!) two.

Ready to feel healthier and more energetic? Maybe it is a daily morning walk now that it won’t require a jacket and gloves.  Want to satisfy your creative genius? Plan to take a class that interests you or embrace a fun hobby.

And if you want to multiply the effect of anticipation as a happiness trigger, invite others to join you in the planning. Whether your family or your friends, start talking to the people you want to spend more time with about the plans you want to make for this upcoming season.  Remember, happiness doesn’t find you. You find it – by making intentional choices that lead you there.

My challenge to you:

Activate the happiness trigger of ANTICIPATION!

Journal about it:

What do you want to feel this summer? What would enable that feeling? Who do you want to do something fun with? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you!

Motivation Killers

Have you ever joined a gym or bought the latest exercise video, only to lose motivation and quit altogether? If you’re like most folks, you know what I mean. Your intentions are good, but the fiery motivation that gets you going eventually fizzles and you find yourself right back where you started – or worse. So what is the secret to lasting motivation? Can you really change your lifestyle habits and become healthier for good?

The answer is YES. But first, you’ve got to get rid of what I call your “motivation killers.” Break these bad habits, and you’ll give new life to your health and fitness goals.

“There is a spiritual and mental element to health and fitness goals that is so important,” says fitness guru Donna Richardson Joyner, author of Witness to Fitness: Pumped Up! Powered Up! All things are Possible!.” “Taking care of your body is an act of gratitude for the divine gift of good health. When you change your thinking, you increase your chances for success.”

Psychologists note that a key to changing your thinking is making sure your motivation is solid. Your motivation is your “why” for going after the goal – and it needs to come from the inside out. Extrinsic motivation can be enticing, but it does not hold the sort of meaning that strengthens your perseverance. For example, you could motivate yourself to lose 20 pounds so that you look good for your upcoming high school reunion. But what happens after that? Intrinsic motivation is more meaningful. For example, “I finally want to experience the potential I know I am capable of,” or “I want to live long and see my grandchildren graduate from college” are intrinsic motivations for better health. It is OK to have some extrinsic motivators, but if all of your motivation is extrinsic, you are more likely to give up when the journey to your goal becomes tough. Just as dangerous as not finding a strong enough “why” is killing your motivation through some common bad habits.

Motivation killers: Are you guilty of one of these?

Motivation Killer #1: Comparing “up”
When you constantly compare your body to those whom you perceive as more healthy or attractive or disciplined, you can dampen your motivation and become discouraged. It is OK to notice those around you, but do so in a balanced way. Don’t just notice those who have it all together – notice the ones who are struggling, too. By doing so, you realize you are not alone in your struggle. And when you compare yourself with someone who is doing better, ask empowering questions, such as, “What is she doing that helps her stay on track?” and “How does he stay away from those chocolate chip cookies?”

Solution: Instead of envy, educate yourself and learn from those who’ve “been there, done that.”

Motivation Killer #2: Too much ambition!
I know, it sounds almost un-American to tell you to curb your ambition. But too much ambition can be counterproductive. Have you ever started the New Year with a list of resolutions that goes something like this: exercise one hour per day, no soft drinks, drink 8 glasses of water per day, go to bed by 9 pm and no mid-afternoon runs to the vending machine for a pack of Twinkies! By Day 3, you’re failing miserably.

Solution: Choose one goal and move toward it with laser focus. After 21 days of focus, add another goal. Repeat this cycle until you reach all of your goals. Lifestyle changes happen incrementally, not overnight.

Motivation Killer #3: No Fun!
By going it alone or forcing yourself to do activities you truly don’t like, you sap your own motivation. Team up with a buddy, take a dance class or join a sports league. Make your exercise ritual a social endeavor and it will be more fun. Bonus: Research shows positive emotions generated by having fun actually help you persevere.

Solution: Stop thinking of exercise as a chore, and find a way to make it fun.

 

What are your motivation killers? Can you identify yourself in these scenarios? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you!

Success is Right Under Your Nose!

I feel led this week to give you a few words of inspiration about how your words can propel you to success rather than sabotage your efforts. Success often comes to those who know what to say, when to say it and how to say it. Those with talent, but don’t communicate effectively often never get the satisfaction of fulfilling their potential. Are you a wise communicator?

In the busyness of life and work, we can sometimes forget the impact of our words. A few words spoken hastily can ruin a relationship or an opportunity. So can a few words gone unspoken. Sometimes the people around you need to hear you speak clearly about where you stand on certain issues or how you feel about them. The missing piece that will solidify success is in your relationships, job or entrepreneurial endeavors may be right under your nose! I have five simple ideas to share with you about the words that come out of your mouth:

1. Learn when to be quiet.
Some of us are more inclined to speak than others, but those who find the most success are often those who know when to be quiet. There may be a situation in your life right now that is hindered and not helped by more talking. Don’t be afraid of silence. Sometimes life’s best answers appear when we are quiet enough to listen.

2. Give yourself time to think.
We have all heard the saying, “think before you speak.” Consider this a reminder that it is always wise to consider the impact your words will have after they are spoken. Think of the best way to communicate what you need to say before you even open your mouth. Even when you are in a conversation and must respond immediately, take a few seconds first to gather your thoughts. You will come across as being more thoughtful, and you will feel more confident about what you say. If you need more time to think about how to respond, simply say, “Let me give that some thought.”

3. Refuse to murmur and complain.
We can always find something to complain about if we focus on the negative. Make a decision to appreciate the blessings in every situation and refuse to waste your words complaining and murmuring. Instead, ask, “What solution would help me eliminate the challenges I find myself complaining about?” Complaints drain your energy – and the energy of the people around you! Use your words to renew your energy, not deplete it.

4. Tell me something good!
In the seventies, Chaka Khan had a funky song that became her first hit, “Tell me somethin’ good.” I still love to sing it when I hear it on the radio. In a previous post I asked you to ask yourself and others every day, “What’s the best thing that’s happened to you lately?” Are you still asking yourself that question regularly? Stay in the habit of acknowledging the good things that are going on, so that you don’t find your conversation out of balance and focused solely on the negative realities you may face.

5. Speak your goals into existence.
One of the most common reasons many people never reach their goals is that they don’t really believe they can. Not only do they not believe it, but they speak negatively about their chances for success. Sometimes you have to speak your way into believing all that is possible for you. Speak positively about your vision for your life. “I will accomplish my goal by doing XYZ …”. Even if you hear your doubts swirling around in your head (“You can’t do that!” “Who do you think you are?!”), refuse to verbalize them. Eventually your thoughts will catch up with your words!

 

Challenge:
Watch what you say. Your words have tremendous power.

 

Journaling Assignment:
In what way(s) are your words hurting more than helping you? What specifically will you commit to doing differently this week when it comes to your words? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you!

FREE recording of Goal Setters, Goal Getters!

Goal Setters and Goal Getters was such a powerful call today! Did you join (over 600 registered!) us or did you miss it? Either way, I’ve got a GIFT for you: Download the recording here or use your phone to dial in and listen. Enjoy!

Listen here (slide the bar forward to fast forward through the first couple of minutes of people dialing in):

Or call and listen (long-distance charges apply)
Playback Dial-in Number:
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Playback Access Code:
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What’s Your Excuse? 4 Questions to Break to the Next Level!

What’s the reason you have for not going for “it” – your most authentic dream? Whatever “it” is in your life or career, most people have a reason it hasn’t happened yet. But if you look behind the reasons, you might just discover they could be reclassified as excuses. Now, I’m not trying to beat you up about your excuses. I want to help you break free of them so you can go to the next level. In fact, I’m inspired to write this column because I discovered I have a few excuses of my own. Up until recently, I called them “reasons.” Whatever you want to call them, they’re in the way. And you are the only one who can demand they go.

So what’s your excuse? Is it a lack of time? Money? Is it someone in your life you feel holds you back? Is the dream just too hard? Too complicated? Too much of a commitment? Maybe your excuse is a lack of education or experience or a mentor. Or perhaps if you just had more contacts or more friends or fewer obligations or weighed less or were younger or older or …

You get my point. Excuses allow us to justify our lack of progress. They can even bring you sympathy from others. They let you off the hook. But the truth is, when there is something you were meant to do, you’ll never truly be “off the hook.” You must do it, which means you must let go of your excuses. That means facing your fear. That’s what this is really all about. What really holds you back is fear – whether it is fear of success, and all the expectations that come with it, or fear of failure and all the disappointment or embarrassment that comes with it. Your fear might not be success or failure. It might be rejection or not being good enough.

Whatever your fear, the good news is you can muster the courage to conquer it. Choose to let go of all excuses for why you cannot have what you want in life. Coach yourself with these four excuse-shattering questions:

    1.  What’s my excuse?
    2.  What does this excuse give me permission to do (or not do)?
    3.  If I could no longer use this excuse, what would I have to do instead?
    4.  Why don’t I just do that now?

When you drop your excuses, you discover that the bottom line is you can pursue your dreams – or not. You can live life fully or you can live it small. Living fully takes courage. Courage is a choice. The choice is yours.

My challenge
Drop all excuses. Choose courage instead.

Journaling Questions
What is the main excuse you’ve used for not moving forward in a particular area of your life? What does your excuse give you permission to do? If you could no longer use the excuse, what would you have to do instead? When will you start doing that? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you!

Doing Things Because You “Can” vs. Doing Things Because You are “Called”

If goals make your heart skip a beat, if competition is your strength, if the finish line is just a starting line to your next goal, then maybe your eyes have crossed paths with these words today for a purpose. I’m one of you.  Impulsively, I am always thinking about what the future holds and what I need to do right now to prepare for it.

One of my signature strengths is “future-mindedness.” I get downright excited about creating a vision. My husband and I even dreamt up a list while walking on a Bahamian beach on one of the lazy days of our honeymoon – of the adventures we wanted to experience and the kind of life we wanted to live. It was fun. And we are living it out. I love it. As a coach, I’ve helped hundreds get clear about a vision of their own.  But like any strength, you can overuse it.  Thinking too much about the future has, at times, overwhelmed my present moments. The constant quest for a new goal must be balanced with breaks between goals, moments of celebration and realistic expectations of what the achievement of another goal will bring. One day last year, while chatting with my own coach, I stumbled upon a question that intrigued me, “When have you done enough?”

In other words, does there always need to be another level, a new goal, another achievement to check off the list?  What would it feel like to set a goal to want less? Now that’s a different kind of a goal. To truly savor what you have, sometimes you must make the space to enjoy it – unencumbered by the pressure of the next thing on your must-do list. I’m not talking about having low standards or giving up on your dreams. I’m talking about giving yourself space to breathe and enjoy what you’ve already accomplished.

In our performance-driven culture, it can be easy to miss the point of setting a goal in the first place – to live out our purpose, experience the joy of life, and make an impact that leaves the world somehow better off.  There’s a big difference between doing something because you “can” and doing it because you’re “led.” There are endless options for what you “can” do, but most of them will distract you from what is best for you in this season of your life.  You may just find the goal is about a new kind of achievement in your life – the achievement of contentment and the inspiration that will emerge when you have the space to hear that still, small voice whispering what’s next on the horizon.

My challenge to you this week:
Identify the activity you are engaged in simply because you “can” do it, even though you don’t feel called to it.

Journaling assignment:
In what area(s) are you stressing yourself to accomplish more to the detriment of savoring the here-and-now? What do you do because you “can,” even though it doesn’t resonate or excite you?  What change does this week’s message prompt in you? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you!

Just ONE WEEK Left to Register and Save! Join us in Atlanta June 6-8, 2015

I am so excited about The CaPP Institute celebrating 5 years of hosting the Coach Training Intensive (CTI)! This intensive is an accelerated personal and executive coaching course that also features our popular bonus Business Development Day for those who want to grow a highly profitable coaching business. It is designed to focus on the needs of professional coaches, business owners, psychologists/counselors, corporate managers and other leaders. The Coach Training Intensive will equip you with the skills to effectively coach clients, team members, staff, and others as they navigate through challenges and opportunities. See an exclusive peek inside our weekend intensive and see what YOU can experience at our June CTI!

Join me, my team of instructors and aspiring coaches just like you from all over the country June 6-8, 2015 in Atlanta, GA at the InterContinental Hotel.

 

Don’t miss out on this wonderful experience and check out the new additions this summer! Save 10% and receive a $25 gift certificate to our online store when you register by midnight April 7th.

Click here to register TODAY!

For questions, contact Erika Davis at 800.980.8208 ext.88/ edavis@cappinstittue.com

  

 

Hundreds registered for the powerful teleclass, Seven Secrets of Highly Successful Coaches last month. For those of you who missed it, here’s the link to download it for FREE! Stay tuned for more FREE teleclasses happening this month! 

 

 

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!