Do You Choose Comfort or Do You Choose Challenge?

Do You Choose Comfort or Do You Choose Challenge?

Let’s imagine two people at the beginning of their careers. Both start in an entry level position with basically the same qualifications. Both say they aspire to one day become head of a corporation.

 

Easier vs. harder

Both are presented with the opportunity to take on a new challenging role. Neither are particularly qualified for it.

 

Person A decides they’d prefer to stay where they are for a little longer and get more comfortable in their present position before taking on something quite that challenging.

 

A little nervous, Person B decides to take the chance anyway. Person B. doesn’t do all that well in the role. They realize they need to expand their skills in XYZ. They take the opportunity to seek out and shadow people with XYZ skills.

 

Consistent choices

Over the course of their careers, Person A and Person B are given the opportunity to take on extra work. Person A will generally choose to go home at the end of the work day and relax or hang out with friends. Rather than do that, Person B will generally choose to take on the extra responsibilities.

 

Person B will consistently put themselves in slightly uncomfortable situations in the name of testing what they’re made of and expanding their bounds.

 

It’s obvious where this is going. Person A always chooses the comfortable option. They won’t become head of a company, but it turns out when it came down to it, all that talk about possibilities was in actuality just talk.

 

Person B generally chooses to push out of their comfort zone. Even if they’re afraid of failing they try anyway. The shallow end of the pool is safe, but it holds no interest for them. There’s a big blue ocean out there. There’s no telling what they’re going to find in that ocean, what dangers may be lurking in its depths or what beauties, but they are determined to find out.

Person B may or may not become head of a corporation, but they will certainly have made way for the possibility!

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Create Peace Within Yourself

Create Peace Within Yourself

Do you ever wake up feeling anxious? You haven’t even gotten out of bed and your heart feels constrained.  The busy talk of your mind has already set in before your feet have even managed to slip into your slippers. You can’t even imagine inner peace. If we’re not careful the business of our lives can take over our lives and create more stress, more worry, more needless mental noise and physical turmoil than necessary.

 

It might feel like being stressed out is a normal part of busy lives, but that’s not true. We may not be able to control all the demands for our time and attention that stress us out, but we can manage our stress response. We can learn to quiet the overactive mind. Here are three simple de-stressers anyone can do at just about any time.

 

Progressive muscle relaxation

When you’re feeling overwhelmed your muscles unconsciously tighten. It’s as if they’ve grabbed hold of the stress and can’t let go. They way to pry the stress out of your muscles is to consciously tighten them, one at a time then release. The release triggers a relaxation response.

 

Give yourself about five minutes of undistributed time to go through your muscles. Find a quiet place to lie down. Take a couple of deep breaths. Then bring focus your attention on one part of your body at a time. Tense the muscles in that part of your body, holding as tightly as you can for a couple of seconds then let go. You will feel that part of your body relax in response. Start with your feet, go to legs, pelvis, stomach, chest, arms, shoulders, hands, neck, face.

 

Once you’ve finished with the individual muscle groups tense everything as tight as you can. Curl your toes, make your hands into fists, squeeze your eyes shut. Breathe in deeply through your nose then release the breath with an audible sigh through your mouth.

 

The sigh of relief

When we are stressed out we tend to breathe in the upper registers of our chests, in a very shallow way. As if we are in fight or flight mode. Deep breathing is a natural de-stresser.

 

Start by noticing your shoulders. Are they tense, are they hovering somewhere around your ears. Relax your shoulders and your jaw. Close your eyes and breathe in slowly through your nose, from deep in your solar plexus to the count of five. Hold your breath for a count of five then breathe out slowly through your mouth with an audible exhale for a final count of five. Repeat.

 

By slowing breathing in, and slowly breathing out with an exaggerated exhale you simultaneously release the stress response and activate the relaxation response.

 

Hug

When you hug someone with all the hug you’ve got, full arms, full heart and hold it for a moment you activate a natural oxytocin response. Oxytocin helps relax your blood vessels, strengthens your heart and helps your mind feel more impervious to stress.

 

A heartfelt hug can naturally release hormones your body needs to calm your busy mind and relax you physically.

 

Use these three simple techniques to help you find peace in yourself so you can find it outside yourself.

Move A Mountain One Stone At A Time

Move A Mountain One Stone At A Time

What is your ultimate goal? Go wild. Think of a mountain moving goal. If you could achieve anything what would it be? Assuming you went for that huge goal rather than something easily attainable, achieving it must feel nearly impossible. Of course, the mountain is impossible to move. But what about a stone? You could certainly move a stone. The key to achieving any goal is to step away from the overwhelming big picture and concentrate of the smaller things you need to do to get you there.

 

Now let’s say your goal isn’t actually mountain sized (even if it feels that way), but simply something you truly want to achieve.

 

Create a plan

Back to those stones. You don’t want to just go around moving them willy nilly. Although you might eventually make some headway, it won’t be as fast or efficient or helpful as if you have a plan. The way to achieve a long-term goal is by setting and achieving short term goals that get you from here to there. Write down everything you need to do, everyone you need to speak to, any courses you need to take, accomplishments you have to attain. What do you need to do first, second? Put them in order and set up a timeline for the completion of each.

 

To keep you motivated, your goals need to be attainable and relevant. They need to be SMART

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant

Timely

 

Celebrate achievements along the way

On the way to achieving your long-term goal, you are achieving short term ones. Don’t forget to give yourself credit for those achievements. Reward yourself for a job well done. Give yourself reasons to feel good about yourself. Getting to the destination is great, but it’s also important to enjoy the sights along the way. To sometimes stop and take pictures and have a glass of wine in front of a job well done.

If You Want To Succeed You Have To Plan For It

If You Want To Succeed You Have To Plan For It

Welcome to the start of another week. As you look out at what’s ahead are you looking at a achievements you’re working towards or is it more of a blank slate?

 

No judgement here. If it’s a blank slate and you are happy meeting life with whatever it has to offer as it approaches you that’s great. However, if there are definite things you want to achieve with your life you need to have a vision/plan for what you’re going to do to ensure life offers up the things you need to get you there.

 

Have a vision for what you want to achieve

In order to create the success you want, you need to have a clear vision of what it is you want to achieve. Picture yourself already in that position, as clearly as you can. What do you wear? Where do you live? What do you do with your days? Close your eyes and imagine yourself looking out through the eyes of your already successful self. Set aside a few minutes each day to visualize yourself already living the life you will live once you achieve your goals. In an article about visualization techniques Jack Canfield explains how visualization will create four important benefits:

 

  1. It activates your subconscious – which will start generating creative ideas to achieve your goal.

 

  1. It programs your brain – to readily perceive and recognize the resources you will need to achieve your dreams.

 

  1. It activates the law of attraction, thereby drawing into your life the people, resources, and circumstances you will need to achieve your goals.

 

  1. It builds your internal motivation to take the necessary actions to achieve your dreams.

 

Act like you’ve already achieved that success

When we say act as if you’ve already achieved your success we are not saying to go out and buy a car you can’t yet afford because that’s what you’ll be driving. We are saying approach life from the mindset of someone already successful. You don’t doubt your abilities because you have already proven yourself. You know people are interested in hearing your ideas because they and you already know they are good. It means approaching life with an open heart, ready to embrace more success based on past experience. Check out the article Why Acting-as-if Will Make You Twice As Successful From Medium

 

All Moments Past And Future Are Now

All Moments Past And Future Are Now

How much of your time do you actually spend fully dedicated to the moment you are living? On one level we are all always in the moment. Physically anyway. There’s nowhere else for us to be. But on another level we are too often in another time and space entirely. Being somewhere physically and being somewhere mentally are two very different things.

 

Most of us spend inordinate amounts of time dwelling on the past or thinking about/planning for/worrying about the future. Yes it’s important to learn from the past, so we have to check in there sometimes. And if we want to be successful in the future we have to think about it to plan for it. But checking in with the past and future and living in them are not the same thing.

 

Fear of the now

The reason so many of us don’t live fully in the present is because all that future and past thinking is has created deep anxiety about the present moment. I’m going to use this moment to fix the past. Or this moment can never compare to what I did/achieved/saw in the past.

 

Or through this moment I am going to make the most of my future. Or this moment will never create the future I’m after. That’s a lot to put on the shoulders of a little moment in time.

 

Avoid judging the moment you are in

Instead of judging the moment you’re in against the past or future try focusing only on what it has currently going for it. Start by breathing – deeply and fully to center yourself. Pay attention to the details of your surroundings. Notice the people around you, how you feel physically. Ground yourself in now then let go of judgments. This moment neither has to fix the past nor the future. It only has to be the best it can be in the here and now.

 

For more tips on making the most of your current moment check out The Art of Now: Six Steps To Living in the Moment from Psychology Today

If You Want To Get Ahead, You Have To Start By Getting Started

If You Want To Get Ahead, You Have To Start By Getting Started

Are you perfectly happy with the way everything is going in your life or do you want more?

 

Still pending

Are there accomplishments you’re still working towards?  Dreams you haven’t achieved yet? Financial goals you have yet to meet?

 

One would be hard pressed to find someone who has achieved everything they set out to do and are happy sit back and spend the rest of their lives on autopilot.

 

The dangers of autopilot

And yet autopilot is the means by which so many of us steer our precious lives. Yes, there are things we want to do, plans we plan on starting, goals we have for sometime in the future. The problem is, unless we actually take concrete, definable steps toward achieving those goals they will waste away behind the mists of the unmanifested future, while autopilot takes steers us through our days.

 

First law of motion

According to Newton’s first law of motion, an object either remains at rest or continues to move unless acted upon by another force. Meaning if something is moving it will continue to move until it is stopped. And if something is not moving it will continue to not move until something moves it.

 

What that means for those goals we have yet to begin is, thinking about them and dreaming about them and talking about them will do nothing to bring them about. To get ahead, as Mark Twain so elegantly put it, is to get started.

 

Once we start the goal, or project, or plan, it will start moving and keep moving on the momentum created by starting. Once you start you become motivated to keep going. You begin to believe in the reality of this thing you are now actually doing.

 

So back to the question from the beginning. Are you perfectly happy with the way everything is going in your life or do you want more?

 

So start!

Success Isn’t About What You Have, But What You Do

Success Isn't About What You Have, But What You Do

Outward success

How would you define success? A beautiful house in a prestigious neighborhood? A luxury car? A wardrobe filled with designer label clothing? All those things are great and certainly present an outward face of success to the world, but that is if we are going to define success strictly in terms of dollars and cents.

 

Sharing of time and energy

How about a person who consistently makes other people smile and feel good about themselves? Someone who spends their weekends in a shelter helping troubled kids? Or uses their vacation time to go overseas and help build schools in developing countries? Would you deem that a successful way to spend a life?

 

Most of us do strive for that beautiful house and the other outward signs of success, but it’s important to remember what you see on the outside is only one kind of success.  Even if you can’t afford more than a basic car and you’re still living paycheck to paycheck that does not mean you cannot live a successful life.

 

What can I do? You might think. I barely have enough money to keep my own life in order. How can I give to someone else? Money is only one thing you can share with others. Just as important is time and energy and attention. Sometimes it’s the gifts with absolutely no monetary value that are worth the most to other people.

 

Every time you consider another person’s health or happiness you are adding more success to this world. It truly isn’t what we have or what we drive or what we wear that defines us. True, lasting, world changing success is measured by what we do.