Nine months ago I made an intention with a placebo* pill. I wanted to be more present in the lives of people I love. As a part of that exercise in mindful intention however, I screwed up.
I stated the superficial revenue goal that I thought would accomplish this for me. It, so I thought, would allow me the comfort zone for freedom and flexibility to spend my time in a more meaningful way.
Every month that passed that I didn’t reach that goal, I wondered why and what I was doing wrong. At a mastermind meeting last weekend it donned on me that I had done it in reverse.
I speak about having your “why” in order to get through motivational slumps. In fact, I prefer the “cry why.” If it gets you emotionally, you’ve got it. I never had the reaction I had last weekend last August. I immediately had tears in my eyes when I worked it backwards. I actually felt it in my body when I said it. I’ve had that same reaction every day I’ve taken it since. It wasn’t the money that was the little hinge it was the ability to be present in moments that matter. That is what I wanted as a result of the financial goal. When I flipped my words to reflect that I was here already, present now, it changed everything.
Things have begun to change. Opportunities to reach more people and connect women to their “why” and the how to get there have opened up, yes, even in 7 days. In fact, the very afternoon I took the xpill something big happened during a conversation with a friend. I’ve felt myself be IN the moments since with members of my family so much more.
You probably know the place where I’ve been before this. There but not. Physically I’m in one place and always thinking about the next. Some how calculating how much time each task or “to-do” will take as I’m doing the one before it without paying any real attention at all.
Action for Change Exercise:
Step 1: Write down what you don’t like about right now.
Energy. Can’t sleep. Brain fog. Extra weight. Belly fat. A softness you didn’t used to have. Arm jiggle. Cellulite. Moodiness. Lack of confidence.
Step 2: Pick a goal.
Use something that will have the biggest impact on all.
You might say lose weight, especially the belly fat or upper arm flab you’ve noticed recently. [I might argue that sleep would be the hinge for you.]
Step 3: Dig into your goal.
Answer why you want it. This will work if you still have work to do to get to your real goal. If, like I made the mistake of choosing a tangible end thing, your why will be different.
Step 4: Ask why again. Keep asking what’s important about that.
That first why and maybe this one too is still a little like topical lotion. You need to get inside. For me the financial goal I tried to reach for was about good things but it wasn’t an emotionally driven thing. “Being fully present” as a goal brought images of loved ones and specific moments to my mind. I connected my heart and my head when I stated that intention the first time, and I do again every day when I repeat it.
At the moment I take the xpill I literally see in my mind devastating moments of being forced to be there. I see moments when I was resisting being there, wanting things to be untrue. I see moments right now this week when because I’m paying attention I feel so much more. My heart has been filled in the last 10 days by connecting to both colleagues on the same path and family who have seen the worst and best moments of life with me.
Progress Not Perfection
It’s true, even as a coach, I am in the boat with you. I think, it’s required, really. How could I ever provide personal trainers with a model of marketing and programming for their best customers? I knew I needed to always be doing it myself as long as I was going to be coaching them. So it is here too. How could I ever share secrets and success stories about how to stay vibrant and full of energy in a distracting over-stimulating world? I have to be overcoming obstacles too. I’ve got to be looking and wanting more which will mean new levels of resistance every step.
Stripping Away Fears
I ran last week on a clothing-optional beach in San Diego. Most were opting not. I was clothed, by the way. I’m from Iowa after all. Roots grow deep. Don’t think I wasn’t tempted though to get way out of my comfort zone and slip into nakedness in the crowd if only for myself. I ran out of time before I had the chance.
But truly what happened this week was that I felt more naked than shedding clothes would make me. It felt good. Freeing. Authentic, honest, raw and simple. I spoke in my hometown. I’ve been presenting to big and small audiences for 30 years, as part of my livelihood, but this one meant more.
People Will Stare: Make It Worth Their While
Growing up in a small town can be filled with wondering what the neighbors will think and worry about fitting in. The external criticism can make you second-guess yourself. Until, that is, you have some turning point. It can be a slow evolution or it can be rapid.
This past year I’ve learned what is drama and what is tragedy. I’m done with the former. I can’t control the latter. The lesson that tragedy teaches is too expensive not to learn. There are things that just don’t matter and should never have earned any real energy but often do.
As I create this blog I have had two letters to write this week: one to my son in honor of his graduation from college and launch into the real world, the other about the impact of Bill Davis on my life. He has been gone since June 25th last year and the sentencing of the young woman who killed him, while on probation with two priors, and far beyond legally drunk, who then left the scene and fled, is May 30th.
These two letters so very different are also so very much the same. I fear my letter to my son will be tainted by the other letter’s content. And I’m also grateful for it. Life becomes much more meaningful when you lose someone out of the order of life. It’s impossible to completely accept Bill is gone. He should be here. The song says it. Every beautiful day. Every biker I pass on the road in Boulder. Every new little league at-bat or in-field play. Every birthday. Every Easter egg hunt. Every just little moment when supper has to get on the table and there aren’t a second pair of hands to grill or clean spills. When three little bodies all need showers, baths and pajamas. When there is math homework to help with and the walk to the bus that used to be Bill’s pleasure before work.
Realizing that hope does happen after such a loss is helpful. It may not be constant but it begins to show up more regularly. These serious little messages go far beyond, “Congratulations on your graduation, yah, you!” cards that I couldn’t bring myself to glance at more than once.
Then there were the cards that messaged… May life always be kind to you.
I put that one back immediately. That, is full of silly unrealistic wishes. I was looking for one that comes closer to You’re stronger than you think. My hope is that no matter what comes you feel strength to handle it. May you know that you have a net. There is always a net. In even the worst of situations, there is love. We’ve got your back.
Flying with Fear
I indoor skydived last week. Heading to the venue once we knew what was happening, I was filled simultaneously with anticipation and apprehension. I found out some of us were eating dinner before our turn in the “tube.” I thought that was definitely a bad idea. After my first turn however, I was in love. What happens when you fall forward in trust is amazing.
So what I’d tell him, and you if you need to hear it, is go ahead and feel the risk. Lean in, chin up, and fall forward. You can fly.
*If you’re not sure you know what placebo is or what research is currently revealing about it, check out Prevention Magazine’s May 2017 issue. There is a great article about it and the power. YOU can change your life with the power of your thoughts.