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Manifest

Get tips to do your work with less stress and more joy

Maybe it’s time to start something new

I know I often write about de-stressing by taking things off your plate, but maybe it’s time to try something new.

Whoa! If your schedule is packed and you do not know how to fit in one more thing — or you don’t even feel like thinking about new things — this may seem like a very unhelpful suggestion.

Hear me out.

I imagine there is something you’re wanting to try. Something new that you’ve been thinking about, but haven’t shared with anyone. Maybe this new thing does not even require extra time in your schedule.

Trying new things is how we spark and light up. It is how we learn and grow.

New things can make us smile and giggle. New things can make us almost brim over with fear, and then experience the glorious release of saying, “Well, screw it!” and jumping in with both feet.

It’s like trying a bite of an unfamiliar new dessert at the bakery. It can be a sugary surprise and it is almost always worth it.

I am trying something new right now. For the last few months, I have been going to the gym and joining 10 other women of various shapes and sizes in weight lifting and interval training. This is way outside my comfort zone. My notion of myself has never been strong or athletic. Instead, I have seen myself as klutzy and goofy. I am more likely to be found bumping into the corner of a table than I am lifting a weight. Now I put on tight blue pants and running shoes and join the circle of women to receive our marching orders in a smelly gym.

You know that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach? That’s how I felt as I parked my car in front of the gym for the first two months.

Then WHY in the world am I going?

Here is the reason: I have always wanted to feel a little less clumsy and a little bit stronger. And because something in me was resisting the idea SO fiercely, I knew something in me really wanted to try.

So in a practical sense, this is my new thing right now: This amazing class that is teaching me how to do a burpee. Every time I go, I dread it a little bit less. And I am getting stronger.

But do you want to know what the new thing in my life really is?

It is THINKING about myself differently. I am now trying on this idea that I am a strong woman. A woman who is totally capable of lifting weights and doing wall sits. This is the biggest shift. I have to give myself a talking to almost every class. It goes something like this: “Annie, you are totally capable of doing this. You are doing this! You are strong and you are getting stronger. Get it!”

So I turn back your direction.

What is the new thing you’ve been wanting to try? Is there something you are already doing that is new and scary and out of your comfort zone?

It could be an addition to your life – a new skill or hobby. Or it could just be a new way of thinking about yourself. I bet there is something, if you look closely.

Acknowledge this new thing you are trying on. Maybe you can begin to see yourself in a new light. You can say, “Hey, I am strong. I am capable. I am learning this new skill. I am becoming this kind of person.”

Look yourself squarely in the face. (Really do this. You could even go to a mirror.) And acknowledge the new thing you are trying on – the new person you are becoming.

And if you even want to tell someone about it, do it! Tell someone you love about this new thing that you are living into.

You can even tell me! Feel free to write me a note or post on my Facebook page.

By |October 26th, 2015|Create, Manifest|Comments Off on Maybe it’s time to start something new|

Facing big change

I am going through a really big change right now. My husband is starting graduate school out of town and we will be commuting back and forth on the weekends. Sitting on the edge of change and the unknown, I can say I am nervous. I don’t really want to face the inevitable.

At the moments when I glance sideways at the coming change, I see only fearful shadows and whispering worries. So much could go so wrong. But at times, light blinks through the shadows and I can see all the good that is going to arise from this change. I am excited and expectant, too.

I am not the only one in my community going through major changes right now.

In my professional and personal life, I know dozens of people who are facing tremendous change. Relationships are beginning and ending, people are leaving jobs, starting new jobs, or are leaving the working world altogether. New babies are on the way. People are moving, beginning new schooling, or taking new career risks.

Some of these changes are chosen and deliberate. Some have been foisted on people. Some changes arise from blessings. For those people, gratitude is mixed with trepidation. Other changes come out of hardship—hardship piled on top of hardship—and bring on anxiety and even fear. Whether we choose it or not, change is hard work. Change always causes learning and growth, and this may be the hardest part. The learning and growth increase the more consciously we move toward the change.

I don’t like change. I would rather hunker down in my cozy, comfortable ways. Ironically, my work is all about change. I work alongside people who are carrying out massive community change, people who are changing their business, organizations, and lives.

Here is what my experience teaches me: Every time I have learned deeply or seen improvements in my life and in my community, it has come through people changing, me changing.

If the good stuff comes from the ending of things, the rethinking of things, the confronting of things, then I guess I need to move toward change. I may not embrace it joyfully at first. I will probably be scared, but I can still step toward it.

Working with people who are facing big changes—and being mindful about changes in my own life—has shown me that there are techniques we can use to move through life changes. In my next post, I’ll talk about some healthy, positive ways to move toward change.

Question for reflection:

What is the one change occurring in your life right now that you may not even be thinking about?
Write an answer in the comments below or jump on over to my Facebook page and comment.

By |September 18th, 2014|Make Change, Manifest|Comments Off on Facing big change|

How to have confidence during a downturn

I am working with multiple clients who are making huge life and career changes in the midst of our anxiety producing economy. One of my clients is in graduate school, more than a few years over 40 and completely changing his career trajectory. When we meet, I am inspired by his courage and his determination. I can only imagine how jolting it is too know so much and be treated like you are just beginning again.

Many of us in the United States, in the changed economy, are beginning again. And if we acknowledge it, we know that we are going to have to begin again fifty more times in our lives.

As my client gets ready to enter a new job market he also has a depth of skills from his old career. He is combining a past career in a creative field with a current Masters in a technical field. He has demonstrated persistence, adaptability, and stick-to-it-ness. It is clear to me that he has a multitude of skills to offer and is developing a clever response to a lay off and the downturn economy.

Yet he is still not getting noticed.
Even in his intern position people are not making use of the skills he has to offer.

Why?

I know that it is very hard to get a job in this economy. I have seen the statistics. And it can be difficult to prove how your other skills apply in a new field. But, I think something deeper is happening. The sticking point is not just the skills we have. Rather I think it is the energy we project as we try and get the gig.

Once you have been turned down 3, 4 or 14 times during the resume, internship, or application process it is very hard to keep your head up. I was depressed and held little faith when I graduated in 2008. Rejection is exhausting. And future employers and colleagues can sense when you have already given up on yourself.

The job hunt, the career change, applying for school, finishing school, starting a business, maintaining a business requires two things: Persistence and confidence.

The very same two things under attack when you are beginning something new.

Does it feel like the universe is testing you a little? A lot?
Getting to the next level, the next step, your next dream is hard.

But the more confidence you project and persistence you display the wider the door opens.

Here are two practices I use for keeping persistence and confidence going:

1. Be endearingly annoying (persistence)

Do not give up. Go for one more interview. Ask for a meeting for the fourth time.
The trick is to be endearing while you ask – tap into the part of you that people like.

Ask yourself – what do my close friends and family like about me?

Now use this characteristic energetically. Hold on to that while you pick up the phone and ask directly to speak to the person in charge of hiring, or in charge of student services.

(My friends like my positive energy, joy and ability to see the possibility in a situation. I call on that when I have to call back about a project I applied for.)

2. Challenge the negative the minute it enters the scene (confidence)

You know that voice that plays over in your head when you do not get the interview. Or even as you try to fill an online form? The one that says “Why bother? You’re not going to get it.” And, “You must be really stupid.” And “You’re too young.” Or, You’re too old.”

Catch that voice in the act.

RESPOND with a positive truth.

Say, “I got you!” Then answer the fearful voice with another truth, a positive truth about yourself or a story from the past that deflates the nasty voice. “I have worked before and I’ve done great work for organizations.” “I am young and flexible.” “I am older and have years of experience.” “I am smart, savvy and courageous.”

Oh, and it helps if you find a cheerleader or two. Someone to keep the flame burning when you’re down.

Keep doing the work!

How do you keep persistent in spite of set backs?
How do you convey confidence when you’re pushing up hill?

By |June 4th, 2012|Get It Done, Manifest|Comments Off on How to have confidence during a downturn|