Sometimes People Disappoint You

Sometimes things just don't go your way. People disappoint you. That's the truth.

You share something personal, something revealing, with a friend and he reacts like you are diseased and insane - slowly inching his chair away from you. You are left feeling exposed and alone. Now with one less friend.

Or the wonderful idea you shared with your manager isn't well received. He's not interested and your co-workers think it's silly when you explain it to them. You hoped it would bring you the recognition you feel you deserve. Time to go back to the drawing board.

Then there's that job interview that you knew you aced. However, weeks later you find out that despite how great you are, someone else was an even better fit. That life in the new role, the pay bump, new locale and responsibilities are all meaningless now. You feel foolish for even dreaming and now feel trapped yet again in the same old job.

What about when someone forgets to introduce you to an important business contact or to a new group of friends? Or you've walked around all day with what later looked like an entire piece of broccoli stuck in your teeth? Why wasn't anyone paying attention? Didn't anyone notice you?

Sometimes people and situations disappoint you. Inherently you may often think the folowing:

  • She should look out for me
  • He should listen
  • People should like my ideas
  • He should accept me for who I am
  • They should know I'm talented and valuable
  • People should tell me I have brocolli in my teeth

These thoughts can be very painful when people don't follow them like they should. How dare they? Don't they know the rules?

I'd like to reframe some of those thoughts with some new ideas.

Should people look out for you? Well, do you look out for you?

Do you listen to you? Do you hear how you talk about your life? Do you notice the constant dialog running through your mind?

Do you recognize your own skills and know how to promote them? Do you even know what you like to do? Do others?

What about providing yourself with little helpers like a hand mirror to check for teeth salad disasters instead of hoping your friends will point out your brocolli tooth display?

How much are you relying upon others to care for you, support you, be there for you, and listen to you when you likely don't do any of those things for yourself?

The truth is that you can be there for yourself even when others are not.

Instead of focusing on how other people can disappoint, think of all the opportunities where you can speak for yourself and introduce yourself. You change how you see the world based on how you think about the world.

When you rely upon others to take care of you, it's very frustrating. Realize that you get to take care of you. You have more control over your life and what you focus on.

How can you be there for yourself?

What one thing can you do today to make your life better so you feel more listened to, taken care of, and appreciated?

Why We Do What We Do

Rule Book - Stuart MilesWhy do we do what we do? Why do we go to work? Why do we eat what we eat? Why do we have the friends we have? Why do we make the money we make? Why do we get out of bed in the morning? Why do we do anything?

Your Rule Book

While I can't answer those questions for you directly, what I can tell you is that you are walking around with a giant rule book in your head. And every experience and outcome is logged in that book. On top of it, every day your mind finds evidence to support those rules.

It does start at an early age. We are socialized by our parents to not pick our noses in public. To be polite. To say thank you. To look both ways before crossing the road.

Those rules were helpful for you as you learned your way. But when you aren't enjoying your life, your rules may no longer serve you. They may be suffocating your truest self, your essential self as Martha Beck would say.

Your Truest Self

Think of your truest self as the person you would be if you didn't worry about hurting anyone else's feelings... within reason of course. We aren't talking no limits, let's stab someone with a fork because there are no consequences, type of true self. Though if that is you, you may want to check yourself into the nearest mental health institution for a nice long stay. But I digress.

If you were born into a family where money was scarce, you may have a bunch of rules about money that make you tense just thinking about them. Your truest self may starving for air.

If your true self is an artist and you were born into a family of accountants, your creative dreams might be buried so deep beneath layers of left brained thinking you may not even know who you are anymore. Some rules may have to go!

Uncovering Those Rules

The easiest way to find a rule that isn't working for you anymore, that has you in its cluthes, is to think of one wild and crazy thing you'd like to do. Once you have it firmly in mind, I want you to say it out loud.

Here's one I think would be popular.

"I'm going to quit my job and move to (insert dream location) and do (dream job)."

And just wait. The thoughts will pour in. All those rules on how to live your life will magically appear. Some of them might even be said in your mother's own voice.

Write them down.

Next, we'll learn how to evaluate and unravel those rules.

Habitually You

So in my previous post, I asked you to think of the answers to some pretty typical questions.
  • Can you tell me a little about yourself?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • If you have a million dollars, what would you do with it?
  • What makes you a good person?
  • What are you good at?
  • What do you dislike the most?

I have a feeling that if there is any part of your life where you aren't truly happy, then you are lying to yourself  on one or more of these questions.

On some level, you are so entrenched in your beliefs about who you are, habitually retelling the story of you, that any real inkling of who you are is just buried.

How do I know this? Think of a time you told a white lie in order to not hurt someone's feelings. Or think of an instance where you agreed with someone just to make him or her happy. 

Here's an easy one... Remeber a time, because I'm sure it's happened to everyone, where a loved one made you a special meal. And to your surprise, it was completely dreadful. However, you had to fake a smile and eat the entire thing.

Now imagine that behavior multipled many times over the course of your life. Michael Neill, a coach and author I admire, said that faking it until you make it is a horrible idea because who wants to trust a liar. Who is that liar? You. You've been lying to yourself. No wonder you don't know who you are or what you want in your life.

So, start small. Start uncovering areas in your life where you run on autopilot. Pay attention to the times you are being habitually you.

  • When are you saing yes when you mean no? 
  • When do you just go along becuase it's easier than expressing your thoughts?
  • When do you avoid conflict? 
  • When do you pull back?
  • Where do you give in and go along because it's easy?
  • When are you habitually "you"?

Or another angle

  • Do you like the car you drive?
  • Do you like your body? Your health?
  • Do you like the clothes you usually wear?
  • Do you like the food you usually eat?
  • Do you like your friends?
  • Do you like your life?
  • Do you like yourself?

Listen To Yourself

So when was the last time you listened to yourself? We constantly worry about what everyone else is thinking, what the experts tell us to do, what our friends think, our boss, our spouse...

Brooke Castillo's work has greatly impacted my life. Her book, If I'm So Smart Why Can't I Lose Weight, helped me lose almost 40 lbs last year. How did I do it? By listening to my body and to myself.

Brooke, along with Byron Katie, introduced me to the idea of asking what I thought. Did I even like that person I was trying to impress? What did I think of my life choices, my food choices, my thought choices?

So the next time you wonder what someone was thinking, tune in to what you are thinking. Ask yourself what you think...

  • about the world
  • about politics
  • about food
  • about your life
  • about your health

Forget what everyone else has to say.

What do you think? What do you feel? What moves you? Inspires you?

To find out, just listen.

Soak It All In

You take care of yourself. You work hard to provide for your family. Perhaps you read a coaching 

blog or you enjoy a good self-help book to get ideas on improving yourself. Maybe you go to the gym. Or instead you just got out of debt. Possibly you painted a room in your house. Simpler yet, you prepared a meal for your family. Whatever it is, did you take the time to soak it all in?

Too often we forget to appreciate everything going on in our lives. While trying to just keep up with the day to day necessities of life, it's so easy to pass by all the goodness.

First off, if you are reading this page, consider yourself lucky. You have internet access. If you are reading it on your phone, it means you can afford a data plan for that nice phone of yours. If you are on a home computer, you likely own that and the desk it's on. Better yet, you may own or rent the very room the computer desk is on.

 You have time to read this. You are seeing it clearly because you either have wonderful eyesight or can afford to buy some nice glasses. Let's step back some more. You can read and have been educated.


Have you taken the time to just consider all the wonderful things you have going for you in your life? Just stop and take a moment to soak it all in. Life may seem busy, overwhelming, or cluttered. But even if your day is packed or your house is a mess, you have a house and people want you in their lives... that's why you are so busy. Enjoy all the fullness. Marinate in the goodness of your life and all that it entails.

Take a moment. Soak it in.




In the Meantime

So you are pursuing a new career, trying a new line of crafts, working on a new piano piece, and you have a plan. It's going to take a lot of work and a lot of time, but you know you can do it. However, what do you do in the meantime?

What exactly is "in the meantime"? It's when:

  • the kids are in bed and the spouse isn't home.
  • you just submitted your homework, book proposal, your project outlines, and you won't hear back for a day, week, or month.
  • everything is going as planned and you have some time off.
  • you are waiting in line.
  • you are in between assignments.

Given we live in a fast paced society where we must do, do, do, many of us don't know exactly what to do with ourselves when we have those rare free moments.

In my experience, two things happen we are stuck in the meantime. We either fill every extra second up with more activities or we wait. Either option deprives us of the must needed rest and recovery that our mind, body, and spirit is longing for.

When we have free moments, we need to remember the following.

  • It's okay to do nothing.
  • Progress comes over time.
  • A recharge wouldn't hurt.
  • Your mind could use a rest.
  • It's okay to stare at the wall, the garden, your cat, or the ceiling.
  • Some of your best ideas are born in the meantime.

Here are some suggestions on what to do in the meantime.

  • Take a walk or take a hike.  Getting your body moving will help with the lull you are feeling right now. Your body will appreciate exercise and better yet, your mind can take a break as you enjoy your surroundings.
  • Take a nap. I'm sure you could use some more sleep.
  • Get our your journal. Connect with who you are. Write our your concerns. Explore future possibilities. Or just write nonsense. The physical act of writing has a rejuvenating effect in that is clears some of the mental debris we have lingering around in our heads.
  • Go sit outside. For one thing, we don't spend much time outside. Most of us only see "nature" when we take the dog out, bring the garbage down to the street for pickup, or walk from our car to the office. Do you remember what a butterfly looks like? Have you watched a sparrow hop around? Have you pet your cat lately? Did you forget what non-conditioned air feels like? Sit outside and look around.
  • Read a fun book. For you this could be a fantasy novel, an auto-biography, or even a mystery. Stay away from self-help books. This reading is for pure fun. Let your imagination run away to far off places.
  • Go to a spa, get a massage, or get a facial. Spend some time nurturing yourself. You've come this far in your endeavors. Nothing says you like yourself more than self-care.

Whatever you do in the meantime, remember that life is about the journey, not the destination. Moreover, life happens in the meantime - so why not enjoy that time.

Life is Too Short

I just got done watching the movie Last Holiday with Queen Latifah. It's a story about how a quiet an unassuming woman discovers that she has only three weeks to live. She takes her life's savings, cashes our her IRA, and sells all her bonds. And what does she do with that money? She lives!

Yes, you all can imagine the ending. It's a happy one no less. But I think we all need a good dose of reality - something that shakes us up and reminds us how to live.

Georgia, the main character of the movie,finally learns to live now that she has nothing to fear. What could happen to her? She only has three weeks left. So out she goes into the world.

People all around her are drawn to her. Not only does she look beautiful, but she's enjoying herself. Anything she feels like doing, she's doing. Georgia takes snowboard lessons, buys beautiful clothes, orders all the entres at the fancy restaurant. Now I'm not saying we need to spend all our money to have fun. But rather that to really live we must fearlessly be ourselves.

To me, that's what being an artist is about. Whether you paint, act, sing, dance, carve, or write, the sheer act of putting your spirit to paper, to movement, to clay, takes courage. You dare to live and show the world who you really are. What are you holding yourself back from? I entertain the idea of making a CD of my piano compositions. I dream of writing inspiring books. I even dabble with the idea of being a psychic (I'm a new age nerd, I'm sorry, I admit it.) or a spiritual counselor.

In fact, we also need to stop apologizing for who we are. There's a coach/author whom I read, Coach Rachelle Lee, and she says that when you start getting criticism, it means you have made it somewhere. No matter what you do with your life, you are going to offend someone. And the fact is, if someone is offended, then that person needs to deal with his or her own "stuff".

Everyone is more worried about what you think about them than how your butt looks in those pants or how you messed up in your dance performance. In fact, no one noticed you messed up. Of course there are a few people who will go out of their way to criticize you.  But you know they are only doing it because it takes the pressure off of looking at themselves in the mirror. So with all that said, what are you doing? Why are you so afraid of living?

We trick ourselves into thinking we are afraid of dying. We go to church. We pray. We do everything right - according to our holy Book of Right. But in truth, we are afraid of living. We are afraid our painting will get rejected or that someone will laugh our acting. In truth, our spirits are strong  and we are loved by the universe. If only we would stop being so afraid of each other and more importantly of what's inside us.

Life is too short to sit by wondering if someone will like us. Would you want someone to write "Went Through the Motions" on your headstone? Or "Made Everyone Else Happy"? Wouldn't it be cooler to have: Mother, Sister, Friend, Artist, Inspiration.

Okay, have I motivated you enough yet to really go after your dreams and live your life? I hope so. If anything, I've motivated myself! Life is too short not to be lived. I'm off to eat a cookie and to write some music.

The Importance of Downtime or Doing Nothing

Man_relaxing_on_a_bench We are a planned society. As much as the word "goal" and "plan" can make us cringe, we really do plan out each moment. You may not have that five year plan set up, but you probably know that ...

  1. this morning you will go to work
  2. during lunch you will run to the post office
  3. on the way home from work, you will stop and pick up groceries
  4. you will cram in time to work out
  5. you will make dinner
  6. you will get the kids started on their homework
  7. you will talk to your husband about finishing the taxes (or you will do them yourself)
  8. you will shove dinner down your throat
  9. you will call your mother, father, brother, or sister
  10. you watch your favorite TV show
  11. you check your mail and respond to your 8 friends
  12. you check all your favorite websites, forums, and blogs
  13. you will work on your art, your book, your music
  14. you notice the time and then go to bed

Our weekdays and weekends are packed - filled to the brim with activities we feel we must do. Our downtime was supposed to be used creating, making art, playing songs, writing stories. But now, those activities are just as planned and lack the fun they used to. What to do?

  • Erase your mental plan of today, tomorrow, and the weekend.
  • Take one day and leave the computer off.
  • Leave the TV off. Heck, unplug it if you are that addicted.
  • Think of one thing you don't really have to do.
  • Think of one thing that can just wait until tomorrow.
  • With that new block of time, do the first relaxing thing you can think of.

It's so easy to get burned out and it's impossible to create when there's no fresh energy behind the initiative. When was the last time you just did nothing. Or more importantly, had some true fun.

Sometimes I'll get the entire DVD box set of a TV show I enjoy. What first turns out to be a fun time of watching the show, it soon turns into me trying to watch as much as I can. Then I get fun overload which obviously isn't that much fun. I carve out a block of free time and must cram as much fun in as I can. Not good.

When we don't take regular breaks for downtime, "do nothing" time, and just plain ole fun time, we starve our creative selves and our spirit. Then, like a starving person, we gobble down the "downtime" until we get sick off that, too. We go from one extreme to the other.

Today, put aside half an hour or even a full hour to just do something completely random, fun, and relaxing. It will give you the energy you need to get through the rest of your day. I've even read that meditating (or simply doing nothing) for five minutes a day can refresh and reset your constantly running mind.

Try it. Get some downtime. Your mind, body, and spirit will thank you.

Resistance and Your Inner Child

Are you ignoring your inner child when you start a creative project? As much fun as we have writing, sketching, or dancing, we can often get very stubborn about how the entire process is supposed to work. But why is that?

As cliche as it is to discuss your inner child, let's talk about the childlike Resistance we have to new endeavors. What project right now are you dragging your feet on? What new thing are you staring that just isn't going the way it's supposed to?

Take a look at your life and recognize the areas where you are acting like a child. If a child was misbehaving, would you give him or her the same lecture you would an adult? Of course not. (Unless you are really mean.) However, we tend to berate ourselves for not finishing our creative projects when the very energy we need to create comes from a childlike place within us.

Children are more playful and joyous. They look at life with fresh eyes. As we get older, we amass a huge mental database about the world and how it should be. We also have constant pressure to be responsible adults; paying our bills, doing the laundry, or even cleaning up after our own kids. But when it comes time to take our creative dreams seriously, we need to tap into that childlike wonder. We need to look at our creativity with fresh new childlike eyes.

Unfortunately, we have the habit of putting all the adult pressures upon ourselves when we create. We burden our inner child with heavy questions and negative thoughts.

  • Will this make money?
  • Am I wasting my time?
  • What do I do when I'm finished on this project?
  • This is taking too long.
  • Maybe my mother was right, I should just focus on paying the bills.
  • There's no way I could get anywhere with this.

Children create for the sheer joy of it. And there once was a time that you created with reckless abandon. But as you got older, the pressure to support yourself came tumbling in. Given that most of us were taught to make money and then pursue our dreams, it's very hard to just jump into a creative project without thinking these heavy adult thoughts.

So, next time you find yourself being stubborn about a creative project, getting frustrating or blocked while writing, or hating yourself for messing up a dance step, remember to be nice to your inner child. Hold that child's hand and support him or her until you get it right. Be gentle with yourself and your resistance may just melt away.

Limited Time Offer

Life is a limited time offer. You only get one shot, one try, one day: today. Don't get confused and think you now have to rush to enjoy everything. Don't start filling up your to-do list with more and more. Quite the opposite.

Slow down.

This is the only December 27th, 2005 you will have. For a limited time, you can enjoy today right now. But act fast, this offer will expire at midnight tonight.

What have you noticed today? What makes today special? Instead of a gratitude journal, wouldn't it be neat to have a diary devoted to what made each and every day special?