After my last post, one of my readers, Fabio, commented that it seems my revelations often happen at 3 am. He offered not only this observation, but also a question:
What resources do I access at 3 am that I don’t seem to have access to at other times of the day? Great question!
What first popped into my head is the fact that when I wake up at 3 am, I am usually “worried” about something. In other words, my gremlins come out at night! During the day, when I am active, I can distract myself from these critters. If I stay busy enough, I don’t have to think about my problems. But at night, my troubles seem to multiply, growing bigger and morphing into insurmountable mountains. At first, anyway. And what I do at night, that I don’t allow myself to do during the day, is let these thoughts run wild. At first it’s a little scary. These problems just seem so huge. My mind races with all the arguments for and against possible solutions. This goes on for hours sometimes (usually 3 hours, to be precise). And then what happens? I’m exhausted and my mind has seemingly exhausted all the possibilities (the same old possibilities I always come up with – none of which resonates or feels right!)
Then what happens? I am so mentally exhausted at that point, that I literally cannot entertain the same thoughts anymore. Finally, I enter that delicious space, just before succumbing to sleep, which allows my subconscious to surface. The “real me” comes out, so to speak. Not all the “shoulds” and “wanna be’s” and judgements and labels. ME – my essence – “the observer” behind the thoughts immerges. “I” come out to play. And just like any kid, I state very clearly what I want!
“I get to be Batman. You’re Robin.”
No cow-towing, no compromising, just pure innocent intention.
I want ___________!
The solution is always so obvious and simple.
So, the next time you can’t sleep because of all those conflicting thoughts reeling in your head, just wait. Don’t resist the process. Be patient. It may take some time. Just listen and eventually,
YOU will come out to play!
HOW MUCH IS A CARROT WORTH?
I just listened to an interview on Marie Forleo with David Bach, Author of 11 books helping “normal people” sort out their money issues by aligning their values with their financial goals.
This is not a new topic for me! I am not “rich” in the traditional sense of the word. That is, I don’t have a million bucks in the bank. That would have been my definition of rich 20 years ago. And I am willing to bet, it is the definition many of us have – or a variation of that – maybe 2 million is your number, or 10 million. The point is, we all have this arbitrary number we hold out in front of us, like the carrot in front the horse, that we never reach. Why is that?
Because it is a number that someone else gave to us and we blindly accepted, just like the horse chasing the carrot. I am as guilty of this as anyone.
When I launched my coaching website and began to build my coaching business, I took myriad courses to that end. And I got caught up in the whirlwind of excitement with a coaching group I was in. Everyone was aiming for the stars – a six figure income was possible! Oh boy! I was on board with that one! Then I began to experience a sense of overwhelm, of losing momentum. I got a sore throat. I wasn’t sleeping well, thinking about everything I had to do to build my business to that level. And then I realized (literally at 3 am) I didn’t WANT a six figure income! I had adopted everyone else’s idea and thought I wanted that too. Whereas earlier on, I had taken the time to define exactly what kind of life I wanted: maximum of 2 clients per day, so I could really serve them and have time for myself, to do my daily work-out (which is of the utmost importance to me), meditate, work around the house (I am a carpenter and LOVE projects!) We own our house free and clear, so our monthly expenses are reasonable. Additionally, I had decided to create an online home study course, which would leverage my time and allow me to help more people at once. And I had decided to do one or two expedition coaching trips per year, to satisfy my love of adventure. Once I got back in touch with MY big picture, I realized I could have a six figure income, but I also realized that I could choose not to, and honor my own needs and values.
So my question to you is not how much money do you want, but what do you want? What does money buy you? What do you value? Freedom? Time to spend with your spouse and your children? Security? Adventure? Laughter? Giving back? Helping others? Take some time and really think about it. What, exactly, do you value? Feel it, see it, smell it, touch it, live it in your imagination!
Got it? Great. Now honestly, how much money do you need to fulfill those values you’ve identified? Remember, playing with your kids and laughing doesn’t cost you a penny. Watching puppies play is free too. Going on a walk and watching the sun set isn’t expensive. How many of your values can you fulfill right now, without spending anything?
You can see that many of your values are available for you to enjoy, right now. Some, like security for yourself and your family, and some kinds of adventure etc., may take some work. And they are worth striving for.
Now for the brass tacs. How much is enough? Really - DEFINE it. Do the math. How much do you need to earn, save, spend to fulfill your values? Come up with a real number. If you want to take an adventure/vacation once per year, how much does it cost? Now divide that by 12. That’s how much you have to save per month to take that vacation. How much does Life Insurance cost, so that you know your loved ones are taken care of, should something happen to you? What does that translate to, per month? How much is your mortgage and how long will it take you to pay it off? What if you paid an extra $50/month? Then how long til you’ve paid it off? Is it worth the extra $50/month now, to have that extra security down the road? Will you feel more secure NOW, knowing you’ll have that extra security THEN? (have an EXACT date) Some will say yes – others prefer to use that $50/month for the adventure. The only “right” answer here, is the answer that works for YOU!
Take the time to break down your values and needs and come up with a concrete number you need to earn per month to satisfy those. Prioritize them. Maybe you can postpone the BIG adventure and substitute it with a smaller one, hiking in the mountains closer to home, instead of going to Patagonia or the Himalayas (and you may discover that what you really crave is the thrill of being out in nature and challenging yourself physically, which you can do pretty much anywhere.)
But until you DEFINE it, it will always remain the carrot, dangling in front of you, with you, racing blindly after it.
So my question for you is, how much is a carrot worth? (and I am not talking diamonds!)
Fear. What is it? It is an animal instinct, a natural response to an outside stimulus. How does it affect us? It stops us in our tracks. It freezes us. When we are afraid, we don’t move. Picture a cat. Like any animal, when it senses danger, it freezes. You can see every muscle in its body poised, taught, ready to fight or flee, whichever is necessary. But first – it freezes. It assesses the situation, and then, in a nano second, it RESPONDS. It MOVES. It DOES SOMETHING!
What do WE do when we are afraid? We freeze too, like any animal. That is a good thing, up to a point.
Let’s take an example: Last spring while on a walk in the Tuscan hills behind my house, a baby boar suddenly bolted across the path in front of me. Without thinking, I immediately froze, my ears literally pricked up (I could actually FEEL them move) and I listened for the mother boar, scanning the side of the path for the nearest tree to climb. I was poised and ready to run for the tree, should she decide to come after me. Then she exploded from the brush, grunted and followed her baby into the woods. Talk about an adrenalin rush! In this case, there was no doubt that I would have taken action if I needed to: FLIGHT not fight!
But that is where the similarities between us and animals stop, I think. One huge difference is that our stimulus can come from the INSIDE, from our thoughts. Our thoughts can cause fear and because our body does not recognize the difference between an outside stimulus and an inside stimulus, we freeze. We are literally paralyzed by our fear.
Let’s take another example: We have set our sights on a big goal, something we want to accomplish. We begin moving in that direction and something happens that triggers some sort of fear in us. “What if I’m not good enough? What if I fail? What if they laugh at me?” You get the picture – it’s easy enough for you to fill in the blanks here. We all have our own triggers, our own limiting beliefs that pop up at the most inopportune times!
So what should we do in this case?
By taking one step, however small, (this can be as simple as restating our goal out loud to ourselves: “I am going to do X even though I feel Y right now”) we have broken the “spell”. We are no longer frozen in fear.
We have recognized that our fear is coming from the inside. It is not “real.” It is something we “made up.”
The good news is, we can just as easily make something else up. Something like “I am capable. I am resourceful. I am committed.”
And then keep moving, always keeping the big picture in mind, the big goal. Picture it, feel it, taste it, smell it, love it, nurture it – make it as real as possible in your imagination. But remember to break that big goal down into small, doable steps, that are manageable in the NOW.
And little by little, one step at a time, you can achieve seemingly impossible feats.
So now, let me ask you again, what are you afraid of?
So yesterday, I had a bad day. You know those days? Well, this one was a REALLY bad day. It started out with me getting an invite from a friend to join a blog challenge. When I clicked the link, I discovered it was a challenge that I had joined more than TWO YEARS ago! That blog of mine no longer exists. That was it. The straw that broke the camel’s back. I just started to cry. I was in a state of overwhelm because I have just recently (finally, after 6 months of HARD work) launched my own website for my coaching business. Of course I have not had clients banging my door down. The site has only been up since October! I don’t have a mailing list yet. None of that mattered yesterday! I was, in my mind, a complete failure. Because I don’t have enough clients yet, I have to “go back to” my old job as an international biking and hiking guide (a job most people would kill for! Traveling the world, staying in 5 star hotels and sharing different cultures with my guests). But to me, it was a STEP BACKWARDS. I was a failure. Yesterday, everything was black or white, failure or success. Yesterday, I chose black.
So what did I do? What I always do when I am in that mood – I took a LONG walk and tried to refocus on the good stuff. It didn’t work. I tried pretending it was all going to work out (after all, Merci Miglino, an awesome coach and the HEAD OF CURRICULUM at my coaching school was coming to Italy to lead a weekend retreat with me!) It didn’t matter. I was still a failure because I had only 2 paying clients.
You get the picture. We’ve all had days like these. Luckily, I have a partner who knows me well (after 31 years, she should!) and supports me. She just let me be, knowing I’d bounce back like I always do. I got a GOOD night’s sleep (well, I was exhausted because the night before I’d been awake for 4 hours worrying!) and this morning I woke up on the “right side of the bed”.
I’m not going to say that it’s “all roses”, but as I had my coffee this morning, I reflected on the last 2 years of my life (since I took that blog challenge). And I realized that in those 2 years, I had:
I asked myself, "What part of that is a failure?" What had changed since yesterday? Nothing – except my perspective.
Of course, that brought a smile to my face and sent me running to my computer to write it all down!
So, my friends, the next time you are having a bad day – even a REALLY bad day – try to remember that this too, will pass. Just let it be. Feel it. Don’t try to resist the feeling. Remember that it is just that – a feeling. There will be another day.
And your perspective WILL change, if you choose to let it.
If you're ready to go from bored to bodacious, you've come to the right place!
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