Letting go of the old you

November 1, 2009

leap_of_faith blog sizeAs strange as it may seem, it is often difficult to let go of the old you, even when you are loving the new person you have become.

Unfortunately, it is essential to let go of your past in order to allow the new you to blossom.

It can be tough to clear out all those nasty old negative voices in your head that keep insisting you will never be smart enough, attractive enough or good enough.  As much as you want to clear out your own internal clutter, letting go of those old familiar critical voices can be a challenge.

Why?  Because if those voices are indeed wrong, than you have no more excuses for not living up to your full potential.  Before you knew exactly why you did not have the life you wanted, now there is nothing standing in your way.

Still, you have to let go of your old identity for your new one to emerge.  It’s just too uncomfortable standing in two worlds at once.  It’s time to take a leap of faith and embrace everything about this new you!

It’s like when I first met Mike in 2005.  We had started living together and things were great with us.  I knew I needed to sell my old house because I didn’t have any money left, but I was so afraid to commit to my new life with Mike…what if things didn’t work out?  What then?

It was time to take that gigantic leap of faith and make the absolute commitment to my new way of life, with no lifeboat to jump back onto if things didn’t “work out.”  It was time to embrace the new me in this new world Mike and I were co-creating.

It is really no different than taking in your pants after you have lost the weight.  Do you believe in yourself enough to commit to a new lifestyle?  Do you you trust yourself enough to believe in this new future you have created for yourself?

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How to transform negative thought patterns

October 30, 2009

brain photo blog sizeIf you are indeed serious about transforming your life, the first step is changing the way you think about yourself.

This is much harder than you might think, because your brain loves a good routine or pattern, and it is now stuck thinking negative things about you, as discussed previously.

It’s time to start challenging all of your previous assumptions about yourself , who you are, and why you do the things you do.

You must now begin consciously choosing thoughts that are the complete opposite of your usual negative patterns.

Positive thoughts are stronger and more vivid in nature. Like radio signals traveling through space, the waves that have more force behind them counteract those that are weaker in nature. Eventually, the synapses that support negative thoughts dwindle from disuse.

Just by repeatedly thinking something positive about yourself, something you want to think, on a daily basis, you can make your negative thoughts disappear in about 4 weeks. Positive thoughts will then affect your habitual emotions, your self-identifying belief systems, and your interactions with others.

The most well-known positive thoughts are called affirmations.  I’m sure you’ve all heard of these, but they really do work!  These are the chosen thoughts that replace the negative self-talk from childhood.  My favorite is to stand in front of a mirror, look myself directly in the eyes, and say:

“I love you and respect you exactly the way you are!”

Another way to challenge previous negative brain patterns is to begin questioning deeply your feelings about specific situations.

When you are involved in a difficult situation or feeling bad about a belief about yourself, first write it down.  Then separate yourself from the emotions of the situation and start diving deeper into the root of your unhappiness.  Play the “why” game with yourself.  “This make me feel bad.”  But why?  “Because I feel guilty (stupid, selfish.)”  But why?

In only a few cycles of “whys” you will begin to understand your feelings in much more depth, feel some compassion for yourself, and perhaps give yourself a break instead of feeling bad for the rest of the day about something you said or some other situation.

Your goal is self understanding and compassion.  Learn how to treat yourself at least as well as you treat others in your life!


Can we transform negative thought patterns?

October 28, 2009

Besides working to maintain ever expanding brain plasticity as we age, I believe it is essential that we keep turning our negative thought patterns into positive ones.

The potential to do ANYTHING you set your mind to, is already present within your own mind right now, but unfortunately so are all those nasty little irritating limiting thoughts and doubts. They are always happy to share with you the many perfectly good reasons why you do not deserve or cannot have whatever it is you want.

If you are anything like me, you constantly struggle to reconcile what you feel like you are supposed to do, with what you want to do.  Or perhaps you don’t even know what you want to do or be, because you’re so busy doing what everyone else around you wants or needs you to do.

Why do we keep re-creating the same realities for ourselves?  Why do we repeat the same mistakes in our relationships with others?  It is because all too often we believe everything we think.

The first step in changing this internal limiting mental pattern is to understand exactly how your brain works.   New discoveries in the brain sciences suggest that you can take control of your mind instead of letting it control you.

It is estimated that the human brain has about 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses. Each one of our neurons may be connected to hundreds of other brain cells by as many as 10,000 synapses.  The average person thinks between 12,000 to 50,000 thoughts per day, most of which we are not even conscious of.

Every thought we think is used by the same network of brain cells and synapses—every single time.  Every thought attracts thoughts of a similar nature because neural electrical branches are capable of growing secondary branches leading to similar thoughts.

So our brains have a tendency to hold on to those thoughts we think most often.  What happens in our brains determines what happens in our lives.  That’s why we need to stop believing everything we think.

Subconscious thoughts come to us effortlessly because the synapses that give life to them are wider and information can pass through them more easily. They usually represent the sights and sounds from our past which we have mentally revisited the most often or have affected us on the deepest emotional level—whether positive or negative.

One of the worst difficulties anyone can cope with is to be haunted by negative thoughts that constantly repeat themselves in our mind seemingly without our conscious control.   Negative thoughts serve no beneficial use to us whatsoever and can even drive us insane.

If you let them, they will take away all of your confidence, all of your happiness, and even your desire to better yourself. The negative unconscious thoughts from our childhoods are particularly brutal because they are the most deeply-ingrained and we have the tendency to believe their messages and then let them define who we are in every life situation.

Fortunately, one of the greatest discoveries ever made about the human mind is the fact that we can choose which thoughts to develop and which to eliminate.

I’ll teach you how next time.


Don’t underestimate the POWER of surrounding yourself with those whom you admire in midlife!

October 25, 2009

When I was first invited to co-author 50 Interviews: Professional Speakers, I wasn’t quite sure.

Did I really want to give THAT much of my own time to interview so many successful speakers, not to mention the hours of transcribing, editing and producing a book?

Now that I’ve interviewed six speakers, I can answer that question with an unequivocal YES!  The inspiration factor is changing my life everyday, not to mention all the amazing tricks and tips I’m learning!

Speaking to those who have started from nothing, as we all do at first, and created exactly the kind of career they had only dreamed of before, is pure genius for those who think they might like to change careers.  There is no better way to learn so much about a different career very quickly!

But more important, talking to those who have been through it before, we can quickly see if this is the kind of life we want to pursue, or at least which aspects appeal to us.  It can show you how likely it is that you will love this new career, and whether you are likely to succeed, when you take into consideration all of your own needs and personality traits.

Then there are the advantages of being older so we can choose from a place of knowing ourselves very well.  After years of learning how to be honest, and embrace our natural talents and tendencies, we may find that we are finally ready be all that we can be!

Find a way to surround yourself with those you think you would like to learn from. It’s a POWERFUL EXPERIENCE!


Don’t let the leaves leave please!

October 22, 2009

Golden Aspens mediumThe stand of aspen right outside of our bedroom window are at the height of their golden sunlit glory this afternoon.

With the sun shining through, they jump out at me, setting my eyes and mind ablaze with their pure incandescence.

These aspen form the perfect camouflage for my neighbor’s house, a natural fortification between us and the rest of the world.

We are safe in here.

Hidden behind this shelter of gold, we can pretend there are no others out there to spoil our lovely, isolated existence.   We live in our own detached world, free of all things.

Please don’t let the leaves leave!  I wish they could stay outside my bedroom window throughout the winter.  And then in spring, they could magically turn green again!


Finding Your Area of Excellence

October 21, 2009

“If you’re going to be a writer, the first essential is just to write.  Do not wait for an idea. Start writing something and the ideas will come. You have to turn the faucet on before the water starts to flow.”     – Louis L’Amour

Since deciding to become a writer in late 2005, I have met so many wanna be writers, which is silly because, let’s face it, we are ALL writers to some extent.  I loved the quote in Marrying George Clooney when Amy Ferris quips:  “Exactly how does a writer retire?”

But a few courageous or just plain crazy ones of us, decide to try to make a go of it as writers.  This makes sense.  The world NEEDS good writers and a lot more good editors too, judging by the TERRIBLE spelling and grammar on the internet!

The best advice I received when I started writing was to just keep writing! So many of us believe that one is only a “writer” if we are getting published regularly or if we are getting paid for our writing.  I know far too many writers who are getting paid to write annoying commercials and vapid TV shows.  Are they writers?  They are making more than most of us.

In my interview with Cheri Hill this week for our 50 Interviews book on professional speakers, she made a great point about being a brilliant speaker, one which also applies to writing.  Writing and speaking are both skills, they are crafts we can always get better at, with plenty of training and experience.

It is far too easy to assume that the great writers and speakers came to their level of excellence naturally.  They were not born writers or speakers.  They decided to dedicate their lives to growing and changing as their skills improved.

The tough part for most of us is simply finding that skill or trade that we can commit to.  Where should we put all of our belief and energy, because somewhere inside we KNOW that we can excel?  And we also know we need to find our own area of excellence to feel good about ourselves.

Dedicate your life to finding your own area of excellence!  And when you finally find it, don’t let ANYONE tell you you don’t know what you’re doing.

“The person who says it cannot be done, should not interrupt the person doing it.”    -Chinese proverb



Breast Cancer Awareness

October 20, 2009

breast-cancer-ribbon-stained-glass-alana-schmittLive one day at a time, and make it a masterpiece!

Breast cancer is one of my most insidious worries.  Ever since my Mom got cancer when I was in junior high, I have worried a lot about this!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. This disease has touched all of our lives, and it’s time to stop it in it’s tracks!

Here’s a few short but very informative videos about detecting it early and SURVIVING!