Tune Into the Language of Your Growth

As small kids, we naturally discovered that being incapable of an activity was often a temporary state.  We were incapable of talking until we learned to talk.  Just because at one point we weren’t talking, didn’t mean we would always be unable to talk.  As toddlers, I don’t think we even considered not learning to talk.  We just did it.  Our growth was very natural.  We didn’t question it.

To learn to talk, we discovered that we had to listen closely to what people older than us were saying and repeat it.  So we did! (Can you imagine how hard it would be to learn to talk if we had refused to listen?)

And not only did we listen to the older kids and adults around us speak, we PRACTICED speaking again and again until eventually we learned to communicate with language easily and naturally.

I started reflecting upon the determination with which small children learn because in a Bikram Yoga class a few months ago, I became so dizzy that I chose to sit out many of the poses.  But I remember that I kept listening to the cues the teacher was giving and thinking about the poses as the other students did them.

The Bikram experience got me thinking about how often in life I have not been determined to learn.  On many occasions, I have chosen to sit out activities because I felt incapable of them.  Not only did I sit the activities out, but I also tuned the teachers of those activities out and started daydreaming, instead of listening to their wisdom and instructions.  It was like since I didn’t feel capable of performing these activities, I put a blindfold on and covered my ears to see if that would help me learn.  It didn’t.  And further, I wasn’t benefiting from the teacher’s enthusiasm for the activity. I was rather saying, “I CAN’T” and then through my lack of attention moving myself farther away from “I CAN.”

After years of stubbornness and frustration, I’m discovering that learning a challenging activity begins with listening and watching and continues with trying.  Trying can be very humbling.  In yoga class, I’ve tried Crane pose for years and haven’t YET been able to hold the pose for a length of time.  But now I always listen as the teacher explains the set-up.  Then I make an attempt.   And someday I’m confident that I will be able to hold crane.

I’ve discovered that close listening to our teachers is not only a sign of respect for our teachers, but a sign of respect for ourselves and our growth.

Let’s listen to all the people who take the time to teacher us challenging activities as we listened closely to every word when we were little kids learning to talk.  Back then every word brought with it the opportunity for us to GROW.  And we LOVED IT.  May listening closely to all who have things to teach us bring us GREAT JOY again.

Game of the Day

What do you LOVE about learning how to do a challenging activity?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com. 

I Was Successful, but Shhh! Don’t Tell Anyone

Have you ever been successful at something and kept it a secret?

I pose this question because I have hidden many of my successes throughout my life.

On one hand, hiding our successes seems harmless or even like a considerate course of action.

On the other hand, we are often attracted and inspired by the success of others.  Take the Olympics for instance.  The Olympics inspires spectators all around the world to aim high, challenge their limits and go for their dreams.

Now can you imagine if the Olympics took place in total secrecy?  If this were the case, fans would not be allowed to attend.  The events would not be televised.  The results would never be released to the media.  Basically, no one besides the athletes and the organizers would ever know the Olympics took place.

It makes me sad to even consider this imaginary scenario.  Yet, we hide the personal Olympics of our lives when we don’t share our successes with others.  We succeed, but then by being silent, we miss an opportunity to inspire others to aim high, challenge their limits and go for their dreams.

So in this spirit of inspiring each other, I will share a great success that I realized recently.  During yoga class a couple of days ago, I was able to get up into a headstand against a wall, BY MYSELF!  This is a huge deal in my life!  Five years ago me doing a headstand was as likely as me getting hired by Santa to give a motivational speech to all the deer at the North Pole.  I was certain that I was never going to do a headstand because I was certain that I was disabled.

Then for the last four years, I have been attending yoga classes, slowly building the strength, focus, patience and confidence to do a headstand as well as many other poses.

AND TODAY I DID  A HEADSTAND BY MYSELF!  YAY!

When we share our successes with the intention of inspiring others to realize their own, we offer them an invaluable gift.

I urge you to proclaim the personal Olympics that is your life.  When you do this, you give others a chance to Dream of the Gold and Go For It!

Game of the Day

Share a success that you have enjoyed with at least three people today with the intention of inspiring them to

Dream of the Gold and Go For It.

Success Is Not The Same Old Same Old

We want outrageous success in our lives and yet at the same time often resist the newness of even positive change because it represents the unknown.

This struggle can even be seen in our answers to the common greeting, “What’s up?”

In the past when I got this question, I would catch myself answering, “Nothing much.”

What was I really conveying with this response?  Maybe I was conveying that I was highly comfortable in my routine and not looking for any big changes.

Evidently, I wasn’t even looking for an in-depth conversation with the person asking me the question.  (I guess this to be the case because the answer, “Nothing much” pretty much says, “I don’t really have anything of value to talk with you about.  And furthermore, if we do talk for much longer, I can pretty much guarantee that our conversation will be as boring as looking at a computer monitor when it is shut off.”)

The unknown, even if it’s intensely positive, can sometimes bring up feelings of insecurity and FEAR.  (I put fear in all caps in honor of Halloween being this past Monday. Doesn’t fear look spookier than it really is when it is in all caps?)

New success involves creating new routines and participating in life in a new way.   Along with that success the answer to the question, “What’s up?” changes from “Nothing” to “Everything.”

Consider the “Everything” scenario.

Someone asks you, “What’s up?”  And you respond excitedly, “Everything.”   They get excited and ask, “Like what?”  (This person is particularly fond of asking you two-word questions.)

You start talking about every area of your life that you are realizing success and contentment in.  The person you are talking with is a good listener and keeps asking you more questions.  Through this conversation, you begin to realize that in the past six months pretty much everything in your life is UP.  How exciting!

Then you start to get a little concerned.  You begin to contemplate, “Who am I now that success has changed every aspect of my life?”

Part of you panics as you think frantically, “I was so comfortable six months ago.  I knew my routine. Everything was predictable.  Why in the world did I start chasing those crazy dreams that now involve lots of work and are unpredictable?  I miss being able to say ‘Not much’ when someone asks me ‘What’s up?  Those were the good old Not Much Days.”

Then you comfort yourself by thinking, “It is like when I was a kid, and growing out of shoes almost as fast as my folks could buy them.  I was so proud to be growing.  I’m now experiencing great growth through success, so why not be proud, why not savor success?”  (You see your point and with your vivid imagination pat yourself on the back for making such a great point, but part of you frets that along with your success you are beginning to sound like the inspirational posters you used to look at in K-Mart but never bought because you wanted to save your money to buy a Yoda Halloween costume.)

May we all be ready to grow (like our feet when we were kids) into our “Everything” life.

(You are amazing.  I am amazing. We are amazing. Yay!)

Game of the Day

What’s up?

How can you grow into your “Everything” life?

 

Goals And Surprise

Goals may be most useful in that they focus our minds, words and actions on the good we desire.  We can create goals for the next day, the next week, the next year, the next ten years, or longer.  Whether it is around New Years or at some other time of a year, a goal creation party is important because in the process of goal creation we kindle a lighthouse in our future, something to set sail towards.

At the same time it’s empowering to remember that the lighthouse is very often not the destination of ships but only a generous guide to the shore the ship is sailing towards.

Goals can also be blinders.  For example, say your goal is to visit a park across town this weekend.  A friend suddenly calls and says she has an extra airline ticket to fly to New York, New York and she would love for us to come.  If you were firmly attached to goal visiting the park across town, you would say, “nope I already have plans.”  You would attain your goal of visiting the park across town, but miss out on the exhilaration of flying to New York for free on the spur of the moment with a great friend, as well as, the magic of being in that city.

Attachment to specific goals can lessen our chances of producing extraordinary results.  There are potentially millions of extraordinary opportunities that could fill us with joy, success and growth in the next year.  But if we limit our focus exclusively to just a few goals, we limit our ability to participate and find fulfillment in new opportunities.

Some of the best parts our next year may well happen when we aren’t trying to create success or fixated on a specific outcome but simply taking relaxed, joyful, present steps in the direction we want our next year to flow.  When setting a goal, one of my wonderful yoga teachers, Gretchen, always advised people to say, “this or something better.”

 Game of the Day

See what it is like to set a few goals today and plan to work towards them, while at the sometime acknowledging the surprise of life by saying, “this or something better.”