There has been much written about the meaning of success in the circles of business. But how many of us feel successful?
And what is success anyway?
Mike Iamele, author of Enough Already, said in an interview recently that he defines success as "freedom and healing." I love how Mike emphasizes that we must stop allowing others to define success for us and how he helps us stop the cycle of self-sabotage. Mike's story of how he went from being a shooting start in the corporate and political scenes to a profound shift resulting from a debilitating health crisis at a very young age is an amazing story indeed. His wisdom is beyond his years. You can go grab a copy of his book HERE.
For me success is not defined by how much money is made or by the size of my mailing list.
Success is a sense of fulfillment. A sense of feeling free to be and express who we are in the world in a way that enlivens us.
My colleague, Dr. Liz Lasky, recently interviewed me along with 26 other experts in various professional fields on the subjects of success as part of a very special summit. I had the honor and privilege of sharing with Liz my view of what it means to be successful.
While most people measure success by numbers of dollars in the bank, pounds on the scale or followers in social media. I've recently been giving a lot of thought to what success really means and I've come up with 5 Key Tips on how to redefine success in your life!
- Step away from the numbers! Ditch the bathroom scale, stop counting your coins and forget about how many friends you have on facebook. I'm writing from personal experience here. I've had the big bucks in the bank, I have the followers and fans and I've experienced the 50 pound weight loss. But pounds can be regained. Money can be spent or lost and followers can fade in a blink. I'm here to tell you today, those numbers are NOT the indicators of success. It's the QUALITY of your relationships with self, others, nature and life that yields a true sense of success. As soon as you stop obsessing about numbers and start focusing on the way you FEEL in yourself and your life you will experience real success.
- Make a list! Start a running list of every moment, experience, place, person in your life where you have felt alive, vibrant, energized, encouraged, accomplished. It can be the time you made that killer lasagna for your friends and family or the time you made it down a blue ski run without falling or your first kiss or the day your child was born. It can be small things, big things or anywhere in between but make sure they are things that elicit a sensation of vibrancy.
- Smile at yourself! Give yourself genuine pats on the back at every opportunity, acknowledging your own worth and value as a living, breathing human being doing the best you can do. Let this practice replace the one of self-criticism. As Mike Iamele talks about you are ENOUGH already - as you are right here and now!
- Reach out! Success is a feeling we can experience when we are authentically connected to others. Make it a habit to reach out from your heart to be of service to others, to ask for help, or just to have a meaningful conversation with someone every day. Seek genuine connection and you will feel successful in your life because in the end that's what life is about - authentic connection.
- Get aligned! Examine what really matters the most to you spiritually and make sure you are living your daily life in alignment with your most heart-centered values. Walk the talk. Honor your body, your mind and your spirit in every way and this experience of alignment will guarantee you will FEEL the ultimate sensation of success in your daily life.
I want to extend an invitation and really encourage you to go SIGN UP FOR THE FREE SUCCESS SUMMIT! Dr. Liz Lasky has put together an amazing collection of video interviews with all kinds of fascinating people who have a variety of ways of explaining this concept of success. You will glean all kinds of perspectives, pointers and support as you work to create an experience of success in YOUR life and business.
Let's face it. We spend a lot of money to go to school and training to become a counselor or coach. We invest a lot of time, energy in dollars into the marketing of our services as a private practitioner. It's all too easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the HOW to bring in clients in order to pay the bills and overlook the WHY we are doing what we do.
I see too many coaches and counselors flying about, chasing their tails trying to figure out how to get more clients without a home base.
Your home base is your heart. Not talking about the blood-pumping organ in the left side of your chest, rather this heart-center of wisdom at the core of your highest and truest self. In your heart you know beyond words why you came to this work as a helper in service to others. It's crucial to return home and root into what your heart has always guided you to do.
At the heart of who you are, there is something very precious that knows why you are here and knows where you are to go next. It will guide you and never lead you astray. It only requires that you tune in, connect and listen on a regular basis.
Yes, there are lots of practical strategies and notions about visuals and copy-writing for your website. There are things to learn with regard to social media connections and of course there is plenty to know and remember about ethical care of our clients and all the education that comes into play there. But without connecting with the heart of who you are none of this knowledge will help you build a successful business.
I've seen it happen. I've seen coaches who create beautiful websites, blog regularly, send out emails to their list weekly, spend lots of time posting on social media perplexed as to why they have no clients.
Building a counseling or coaching practice from the heart requires a few essential elements. Here are some suggestions:
- Get into your own counseling or coaching with a truly heart-based coach or therapist. You need someone to teach you and guide you as you dive into the heart of who you are and support you with an accountability checkpoint as you cultivate a personal discipline of daily exploration and reverence for your inner world.
- Meditate daily. You can start off with guided meditations but eventually you need to ditch the mp3 and build a seated meditation practice. Please go watch my video and read my guide to the Art and Science of Seated Meditation. Create a daily seated meditation practice and your life and business will thrive in time. I promise.
- Practice mindfulness for real. Don't just dip your toe in the water one time and say you know all about mindfulness. Really embrace this practice and fold it into every moment of your life. Living life in the present moment, paying very close attention without judging and analyzing is life changing. Mindfulness has been shown scientifically to change the brain, to heal diseases, to improve sleep and bring profound peace. Go take a peek at my article on mindfulness here.
- Observe the Yoga of Eating. You eat everyday, so let your meals be an opportunity to connect deeply to your food, your body, the present moment which in turn will help you to be more in tune to what your heart is guiding you toward in your life.
- Spend some time diving into the WHY you got into this business and the WHY you are offering what it is you are offering to people. Go check out this video of Simon Sinek - this will turn your business mind upside down in a wonderful way.
- Take time to walk in nature. Get outdoors, swing your arms, look up at the sky, feel the miracle of your breath. All the while allowing your heart to expand and your mind to follow. You may find you get flashes of creative ideas sometimes and sometimes you may just feel a sense of aliveness and energizing.
- Before you get on social media, find your center, meditate a few minutes, say a prayer that you will be guided to be of service. Don't commit the "drive-by-post" on social media - take a little time to make authentic connections with people. Extend yourself without expecting anything in return. Pay sincere compliments. Build real relationships.
- Learn to TRUST your intuition. Once you connect with your truest and highest self that resides in the heart of who you are, you will receive whispers of direction. Trust those whispers! Follow them even when your logical brain may kickin with objection.
- Connect with OTHER heart-based entrepreneurs to partner and support one another's programs. Join a community of heart-based business owners and make connections that can be financially lucrative but more importantly a powerful way of bringing change to the world.
Magnets do not need to work to attract. It happens automatically. If you are truly dialed into your truest and highest self, when you are super clear about WHY you are offering the services you offer, you will naturally draw in the ideal clients who can benefit profoundly from your guidance and support as a coach or counselor.
If you feel drawn to work with me as your business coach please drop me a line. Read more here and let's connect!
Be of service. Join me in helping women around the world.
In Yoga there is an important practice called seva.
Seva is a Sanskrit word meaning “selfless service” or work performed without any thought of reward or repayment.
In ancient India seva was believed to help one's spiritual growth and at the same time contribute to the improvement of a community.
An important part of our spiritual development is opening our hearts and extending love and help to those in need. And part of growing a heart-based business is having a commitment to giving back and helping for the good of the world.
Here at Wonders Wellness, I believe deeply in observing seva and I invite you to join me.
Together, we can help women around the world who have limiting circumstances and are under-privleged. Please join me in helping! You can donate your time, money, specific items or your expertise to helping women around the world who need our help.
There are many women's charities but here are a few of my favorites that I like to support and hope you will too!
Just this year alone, Wonders Wellness has donated 25% of profits to these charities and there is a plan to continue donating a sizeable portion of all proceeds from the sales that come from this website.
The mission of Women’s Global Empowerment Fund is to support women through economic, social and political programs; creating opportunities while addressing inequality, strengthening families and communities. The strategy is to provide women with the framework necessary to create viable opportunities for themselves and their families. Through grassroots strategies, marginalized women are given the tools necessary to alleviate poverty thus facilitating sustainable development and empowerment. Our goal is to work for social justice, increased human security and women’s empowerment. LEARN MORE as to how YOU can help here!
The Alliance's mission is to support women’s rights efforts in developing countries (with an initial focus on the Central Asia region) by developing a network of professionals in developed countries who are willing to use their skills and experience to help promote women’s rights. The Alliance believes in the rights and values outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Discrimination Against Women and the Beijing Platform for Action. These human rights instruments assert that "women's rights are human rights" and recognize the essential dignity and inherent rights of every person, male or female. LEARN MORE and see how YOU can be of service!
Becky Lee Women's Support Fund (Becky's Fund) was founded in November 2006 by Becky Lee, an advocate and attorney for battered women's rights. After seeing the lack of support for small domestic violence organizations, she decided to create an organization to help both battered women and other organizations that fight domestic violence continue the work they were doing on behalf of these battered women. Becky’s Fund strives to address domestic violence in all sectors of our community, establish prevention-based educational programs to counter domestic violence, and collaborate with others in the community to find ways to change the behavior and thinking behind issues that cause and perpetuate domestic violence. CLICK HERE to learn more about how you can help!
The Virginia Gildersleeve Internationa Fund is an international women’s fund based in the United States and governed by an international Board of Directors providing grants globally to fund locally generated projects that advance the rights of women and girls; projects that help improve the lives of women and girls by advancing women’s rights and social justice. VGIF was founded in 1969 and has funded over 515 projects in 93 countries, focusing on issues ranging from education and health to economic empowerment and human rights. LOOK HERE to learn MORE about how you may be of service!
Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) amplifies women’s voices to eliminate the toxic chemicals that harm our health and communities. WVE envisions a world where women lead to create a healthy environment without toxic chemicals in our workplaces, homes, and communities. LEARN MORE about how you can join with other women to help our planet earth.
This is just a short list. There are opportunities all around us to extend ourselves, to share what we know and what we have without any expectation of anything in return.
There is a time to build business and earn profits. There is a time for self-care. And there is a time to reach out beyond the comforts of our lives to reach those who truly need our help.
Are you slogging through your daily grind, slurping down the coffee you’ve become dependent on just to stay awake?
Do you ever think to yourself, “Is this it? Is this all there is?”
As you watch your kids grow up and move out, and you notice more lines in your face when you look in the mirror… are you feeling heavy-hearted? Like your life suddenly has little meaning?
Wondering who you are once the kids don’t need you anymore?
Your work in the world has become a series of motions you move through robotically?
One woman's story...
One of my clients came to me for life-redesign coaching after finding herself smack dab in “mid-life" wondering what is her life purpose now, realizing her job as full-time mom and part-time book-keeper for a small company is no longer it.
As she was releasing her children into the realm of young adulthood, she described a feeling of an empty spot insider herself.
With my guidance, she’s been visiting that empty spot inside. She began a practice of going inward and sitting in that empty spot without rushing to fill it. Sitting in the emptiness has been transformational for her.
When women encounter this feeling of emptiness once the children leave the nest and they see their body aging, many rush to escape it, afraid of it. I encourage women to be with the emptiness and see what it has to show you.
Once my client was able to surrender into that empty spot, she allowed space for inner guidance to emerge.
She realized her 20 years working as a book-keeper while raising children has served a purpose and has made a profound contribution. But none of it was her true life calling.
From sitting in the emptiness, she has encountered some waves of heavier emotion at first. Some grief. Some sadness. Some resentment. But then, after a while... lighter emotions of hope, joy, curiosity and expanded awareness.
She began to hear her life calling.
She remembered when she was a young girl and all the way through high school and college she just knew in her heart she was destined to be a stage performer. She took lessons, she starred in school productions. She even received a singing scholarship to college. She knew one day she would perform before thousands, bringing joy and laughter and great entertainment to audiences.
This was her calling. But her plans and vision were shut down when her father told her with dismissive criticism he would not continue to support her and all this silly theatrical nonsense. He informed her that he would no longer fund her education and student life unless she changed her major and trained for something more practical – like business and accounting.
She shared with me that at age 19, she felt so ashamed by her father's admonishment that she packed away her life’s calling and opted for a business administration major and the track to take the CPA exam.
She met her husband in a college class. They married right after graduation and she became pregnant with their first of 3 children soon after. She never took the CPA exam but secured a job working as a bookkeeper.
Now, she comes and sits with me at age 48, as her youngest is about to graduate high school preparing to revive her life’s calling.
In her times of sitting in the emptiness, she began to experience pulls to return to singing and acting. At first her father’s dismissive and critical voice spoke to and through her. As I helped her to set that aside and continue to explore these emerging pulls to sing and act again she changed before my eyes.
Over the weeks we worked together I noticed her brow lifted, her eyes began to sparkle. She laughed. She breathed. I noticed week after week, over time, her body - once significantly overweight - began to appear trimmer as she was nourishing herself for mindfully.
Together we created a road map for her to find her life calling and bring it back to life. She began walking several miles each morning while she envisioned the new life she longed to create for herself.
She pulled out her old song sheets at home and when alone in the house she started singing on her own again.
Then, one night each week after she got off work, instead of heading home as she had the past 20 years, she started going to meet with a vocal coach.
She auditioned for a part in the local theatre’s production of My Fair Lady. She landed the lead role.
When she arrived at my office for her 12th weekly coaching session with me, she appeared to float in the door bubbling over with joy and aliveness. She told me of her plan to quit her 20 year book-keeping job and start working at the theatre by day as their office manager while she rehearsed and performed by night.
So... what about you?
Are you moving through your life like a slave driven only to survive? Or are you actively creating and rolling out a life that serves your own calling?
Are you living your life's calling?
If you need help wading through this process, check out my personalized coaching program called Redesign Your Life. After all, I am living MY life’s calling helping others live their's.
Today I am featuring my colleague Jessica Sweet, LICSW and Life & Career Coach as my guest blogger. Jess provides coaching services, specializing in helping women over 40 make career changes.
Are you thinking about a career change at 40?
Whether you're 40, 45, 50 or even 55... a career change is still possible for you.
If you're like many women, your 40's and beyond are liberated years. Years when you're free from the worries of caring for very young children, freer from worries about what other people think. But all of a sudden you might face a new limitation.
You might hit that magic birthday and suddenly you're "too old" to make a career change, even if you know that what you're doing now in your career just isn't right for you.
Why should it be that just when you felt you'd finally paid all your dues, you're suddenly trapped into doing a job that you don't like - hate even, when your heart sings to do something else?
Actually, it doesn't have to be that way.
Being stuck is an illusion.
"Right!" You laugh. "Tell that to my mortgage payments."
Well, while it's true that you probably need an income, it's not true that you need to make your income the way you've been making it.
That's the part that's just a tweak of the mindset.
Career Change At 40
Your career change at 40 or beyond can happen. The limitations that you're worried about can be addressed, one at a time and slayed like the dragons they are. Here's how:
First off, write down what you're worried about.
(I'm going to tackle some of the most common worries in just a moment).
Second, get a handle on what you really want to be doing next in your career.
Third, make a plan to move forward - and don't forget to include lots of support!
The Most Common Worries About Career Change At 40 and Beyond
- No one will hire me over younger candidates. There are two reasons that this might be true. First, you're more expensive to hire because your salary costs more and so does your health insurance. Second, they think you won't be in the position very long either because you'll retire or because you're so overqualified you'll quit soon. All of these reasons come down to money for the employer. Once you understand this, you have an advantage. If it's a job you really want, you can do your homework and go the extra mile to convince the employer that you won't cost as much as they think and/or will be worth every penny due to your passion for the job. After all, you get what you pay for.
- I don't have the energy to start something new.If you're feeling that way, then it's not the right thing for you. What I want for you is that you find a career move that has you bouncing out of bed at 5 a.m. (ok 6!) excited - yes excited!! to work on it. If you have to muster the energy it's not right. If you're 44 and you're wondering if something huge, like medical school is the right move, the only way to decide is to dig deep and think about how it feels. Do you want it? Do you want it bad? Because that's what it's going to take. The right next move gives you a thrill. It's out there.
- I have no idea what I want to do next, I just know it's not this! This, my friends, is what I live for.I love helping people figure this out. It is possible to figure out what you want next in your career. Sure you can do all sorts of psychometric tests and mumbo-jumbo (not that I don't believe in those, I do). But I think that they reduce a person to less than the whole. And when you deal with the whole person and understand who they are and what they want and need in order to thrive, be excited, be fulfilled, and happy you really can make huge breakthroughs. You are meant to do something you love, and you can find it.
These are three really common worries, but of course there are more. What worries do you have?
Career change at 40 and older can feel hard, but you can do it! You can break through to a new career or even a dream business. The limitations that hold you back need to be broken down step-by-step so you can move past working at a job that's probably not challenging you and transitioning on to something that fulfills more of your potential.
Jessica Sweet, LICSW is a career and life coach who helps people over 40 make a career change to work they love. She also helps creative entrepreneurs take their solo businesses and business ideas from seed to bloom. Learn more about her services and working with her at Wishingwell Life Coaching, and get her free e-book The Ultimate Guide to Career Change at 40 and Beyond.
As we run around doing ten things at once, we create more stress for ourselves which actually works against efficiency and causes us to accomplish less.
In our desperation to be more productive, we are creating the opposite effect. Yet we continue to take more on, adding more balls to the juggling act.
Studies have established that the practice of observing predictable time off from working actually improves efficiency. Other studies show that mindfulness can increase improve focus, productivity and creativity by enhancing our executive functioning skills.
Here are 5 ways for bringing the practice of mindfulness into your daily work life so you can have less stress and accomplish more:
1. Wash your Hands like a Zen Master
Since hand-washing is something we all do every day, build in some mindfulness training each time you hit the sink. Slow down, listen carefully for the sounds, feel the sensations, smell the scents... Really focus on the simple yet full experience of washing your hands and keep complete attention on this experience for 30 seconds. Do the same as you mindfully dry your hands.
2. Wait Patiently and Mindfully
Whether you are sitting in traffic, standing in the line at the bank or waiting for your doctor to show up in the exam room, these are perfect opportunities to practice BEING. Forego the magazine-reading and put away your phone and tablet. Sit or stand and do absolutely nothing but notice the sensation of the air around you, the seat beneath you, the scents, the sounds. Discipline your mind to stay fully present. Notice feelings of boredom or agitation and try to breathe and be still through those feelings.
3. Take the Stairs...One at a Time
We all know foregoing the elevator and taking the stairs can be good for heart-health. It also can be good for mental-health and productivity. When you need to get a file up to another department or you are headed out for lunch break, take the stairs. But take them slowly. One at a time. Feel the weight of your body fully shift into one leg and foot on the step before placing the other foot on the next step. Notice the echo in the stairwell, the smell, the feeling in your body as you slowly climb. Feel your breath and your heartbeat. This act of mindfulness on a regular basis will increase focus and efficiency when you get to wherever you're going.
4. Take a Breathing Break
Instead of a coffee break, opt for a breathing break. Set your alarm every hour to take a break, close your office door, sit and do NOTHING but breathe and watch your breath for 3 minutes. Just 3 minutes at the top of every hour spent at your desk is like a reset button for your brain.
5. Invite in a Guru into the Office
Okay, it doesn't have to be a guru per se. But consider bringing in a registered yoga teacher to lead an office yoga class or a workshop on mindfulness meditation. It can help to have a seasoned expert lead you and your peers in having an actual experience of practicing mindfulness.
Whether you start your mindfulness practice through a corporate workshop, at a nearby yoga class, or just sitting at your desk, make a commitment to yourself to train your brain to press the pause button, slow down and just notice. The more you practice, the more natural it will come and you will notice you are more patient and getting more accomplished with greater ease.
In a society of ongoing digital demands and internet everything, we must reclaim our minds, our bodies and our lives by choosing to be mindful through daily practice or else we WILL burn ourselves out. The irony is, through practicing doing nothing we truly will see tasks completed with greater ease and we will have more white space in our lives to laugh and breathe easy.