Tag Archives: growth

15 Life Lessons to Learn for More Peace in Your Life

Life LessonsI’m not going to wax poetic about food or weight loss this week.

Nope! Instead I’m going to share with you some essential lessons that I have found invaluable! Some of these you will have heard before (you may have learned them yourself) and others I frankly just made up and incorporated into my belief system (#10 is one of those) from personal experiences but I hope you’ll read on to see if some of these are things you need to learn too.

One of the many things that directed me towards a career in coaching was that life lessons kept hitting me in the square in the face and once I got over my initial resistance to accepting those lessons, I became interested in how I could use them to my lifelong benefit. Like most people “growing up” in their 20’s and early 30’s, things I thought I believed strongly would be called in to question, again and again by challenges and disasters I would find myself up against. I was certainly opposed to accepting some of these lessons for a long time, but once I did, their effect on me has been immeasurable. Life frequently forces us to learn lessons, through conflicts, tragedies, obstacles, and we can choose to ignore them (only to have them show up again and again until we learn what is needed) or we can choose to see what it is trying to teach us.

A lot of my coaching practice has nothing to do with food, nutrition or the physical side of our health. My favorite part of health coaching is the “life” coaching part because physical transformation cannot happen without some emotional and spiritual transformation. A truly well person, especially one who hopes to have an improved relationship with food, needs to learn how to manage their thoughts and emotions in a responsible way.  To do that, we have to learn to separate out what is actual truth, from the old stories and beliefs we keep telling ourselves, from what is actually in our personal control vs. what is out of our reach, and what actions, behaviors and beliefs are keeping us down, vs. lifting us up. The most important life lessons are the ones that help us do this and in doing so, allow us to live more peacefully, both with ourselves and with others.

I sometimes wish someone had given me a primer of some of the lessons that were coming my way. I would have still struggled, that’s an unavoidable part of growth but maybe it would have been less stressful? Easier in some way? Probably not, haha! Today’s post is my attempt to give that to you!

Below are 15 of the life lessons I’ve learned so far (some serious and some silly!) that have brought me more peace, happiness and confidence in living my life. Knowing (and living by) some of these “truths” makes it a lot easier to make decisions, more accepting of when things don’t go the way I want them to and makes my relationships less tumultuous.

 

15 Life Lessons to Learn for More Peace in Your Life

1. Stop trying to change other people’s opinions, actions or feelings. The only person you can control is you. It will save you years of frustration, pain and strained relationships if you can accept this. Really. You can’t change how someone else thinks, feels or what actions they take. You can’t control what they say. You can’t do anything about how they live their life. You can’t change their opinion of you (and it’s none of your business anyhow). But you can control how much you allow someone to affect you. You can control how much you allow them in your life. You can control your thoughts about the person and how much energy and time you give to them. You are in charge of you (no one else). And no one has a right to try to change you. If someone tries to control what you wear, who you talk to or what you can do, they’re stepping out of line. You are not obligated to follow someone else’s expectations of you. You manage you and they manage them. To read more about this, I blogged about this last year.

2. Forgive and “let go” of past hurts/wrongs done to you or by you. For some reason we think that holding on to the pain and the story of our past pains is the only safe thing to do. We think that if we let go of it or forgive someone that it means they’re off the hook or that we’re invalidating our painful experience. You don’t have to be “over” it, but it only hurts you further to direct negative energy towards the other person or yourself over the long term. Forgiving and letting go is for YOU. No one has to know that you’ve forgiven them. You are welcome to keep it all to yourself! You don’t have to wait for an apology from someone to feel forgiveness for the past. There is healing (for you!) in deciding to no longer allow that pain to color every aspect of your life – and only you have the power to do that.

3. We all have an inner critic who tells us (to varying degrees) that we’re not good enough, we look fat, we’re awkward (or whatever). You don’t have to listen to it. Just because it’s there, doesn’t mean it’s true. Ultimately, that inner critic is trying to protect you from getting hurt in some way, but they go about it the wrong way.  For example, when that inner voice tells you that “you’re not good enough to sing on stage” or “you’re going to embarrass yourself by signing up for a 5k”, it’s the part of you that wants you to play small so that you don’t get hurt. If we go after what our hearts truly want (maybe a singing career or winning a race), we do risk failure. We risk embarrassment. We risk falling flat on our faces. But the inner mean critic doesn’t have any more information than you do. She can’t predict the future. She isn’t automatically speaking the truth. The key to not letting her get to you is to acknowledge that this critic is trying to help and that we don’t have to listen to her.

4. Take responsibility for your feelings. No one can hurt your feelings but us. Really. It’s the meaning we take from someone’s actions or words that cause us pain. It’s the way we are thinking about it. This one took me a long time to learn because ultimately I wanted other people to not be jerks (right?!), but it’s empowering knowing I’m in charge of how I feeling. It’s not a blame game – just because you’re not blaming someone else for how you feel, doesn’t mean you’re to “blame”. It’s not about that. It’s about not giving your power away which is exactly what we do when we blame someone else for how we feel. When you recognize that you are responsible for your feelings, you have the power to feel better now.

5. Your past is just your past. It’s not a glimpse into your future. Just because you’ve always struggled with your weight, your body, with food etc doesn’t mean it will always be a struggle or it will stay a struggle. You can change it. Believing that something is impossible makes it so.  You know that humans are adaptable and intelligent so why not believe that about yourself also? Same with events or actions that occurred in your past. They are not happening in the present and you don’t have to repeat it over and over just because it’s a part of your history.

6. Use physical hunger as a judge as to whether you should eat or not. Not the amount of calories you’ve computed, not whether the scale read the right number today or not because you think you shouldn’t eat. If you’re worried that your physical hunger will lead to weight gain, you probably aren’t in touch with it (it’s ok, most of us are rusty) and are eating driven by cravings, emotions or something else. Learning to listen to your body signals – what hunger feels like, what being satisfied feels like etc is an incredibly valuable skill to have. If you can get in touch with this, you’ll always know when to eat and when to stop. Weight issues solved.

7. If you’re not getting the results you want from whatever life changes you are trying to make, ask yourself, how committed am I to making the changes? How much effort am I truly putting in? If you’re only putting in 50% effort, expect your results to reflect that. We can think all we want about how we want something to change. We can say out loud that we want something so badly. We can read all the books and listen to all the podcasts hoping to learn all we can about something, but if we don’t actually apply what we’ve learned to the thing we’re trying to change, it’s not going to do anything. You want results? Then you’ve got to take action.

8. If you’re sensitive – own it, be proud of it, pay attention to it. I remember getting teased in elementary school for blushing when called on to give an answer (or really any time attention was on me). I got made fun of in my own household by family members growing up for crying in response to anger or frustration. For a long time, I saw my sensitivity as a burden and an obvious sign that there was something wrong with me. But being sensitive is what makes me an empathetic coach, wife and friend. It’s what makes my heart feel alive and what makes life feel so incredible. Being sensitive is actually a gift that doesn’t come naturally for most and if you have it, it’s not a burden. It’s a tool you can use to understand your world, your environment, other people and yourself in depth and it can serve you well.

9. Stop looking for the perfect diet that will solve all your weight or food issues. It does not exist. I promise. Almost any diet can work if you follow it closely and are willing to follow it for the rest of your life. Like, forever. If you’re not able to do that (who the hell is??), your best bet is to find a way you can eat for the rest of your life, that makes your body feel good, you feel satisfied and doesn’t make you want to eat your arm for 90% of the day. I am not selling the perfect diet and no one else is either, regardless of the marketing you see out there. You have to figure out what foods, quantities and qualities work for your particular needs. See #6.

10. Let friends and family take photos of you! This is one of my silly lessons. Someday you might not be here and it would be a damn shame if the people who loved you didn’t have pictures to remember you by, all because you were feeling self-conscious. Don’t say “Ug, I don’t want any photos today!” because you think you look fat, ugly or anything else. Your family and friends think you are amazing no matter what you think you look like and they want to remember the day with photos and that includes with YOU in them. Constantly telling others not to take photos of you (or making a big deal to hide behind others during photo ops) actually puts more focus on you – and that’s probably not what you’re after. Join in, as you are. No one is fixating on how you look in one particular photo as much as you are. Show your kids that you accept yourself as you are at this moment – whether that’s 75 lbs overweight or at your ideal weight. Can you imagine a child saying “don’t take a picture of me, I’m too fat right now!”? It would break your heart. You saying the same thing is breaking everyone’s heart who loves you – and one day it will break yours. Smile for those photos like you are feeling incredibly happy to be there (and don’t you dare hide yourself behind your kid or your cousin). You’re fucking fantastic the way you are at this moment. Yes, I’ve talked about this before.

11. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, figure out how you can enjoy both alone time and social time – because there are going to be times that even the most reluctant introvert needs to spend time with others and even the most gregarious extrovert will be all by themselves! Everyone has a specific balance that drains or energizes them and it’s important to know how you can best spend your energy. If you prefer to be with others, learn how to also enjoy your time alone – explore hobbies, learn new skills, travel to a new place etc. If you prefer to be alone, choose more social situations that involve something you really want to do – so that at least when you do need to be social, you’re able to enjoy yourself. People with strong social bonds tend to have better function and well being in old age – so there is good reason to foster those relationships! Though there is also evidence that being alone can help protect against loss of autonomy in old age. It’s important to find the balance that works for you – knowing that both have their benefits and finding ways to enjoy both (even if you prefer one over the other) can go a long way towards the happiness you feel in your life. I find I get depressed and irritable if I spend too much time alone or too much time with others. I am an extroverted introvert (or introverted extrovert – I can’t decide!) and really need to toe the line to feel and function my best.

12. People live the lives they want to have. My father used to say this and it drove me nuts – if someone is in a crappy relationship, how could they want that? If someone hates their job, how could they want that? But it finally dawned on me as an adult that it’s true. People stay in crappy relationships because they think it’s better than being alone or finding someone new – by staying where they are and not doing anything about it they are actively choosing this for their life. People stay in jobs they hate because they are fearful of trying something new or worry that a new job might be just as bad or because it might be hard to find a new job. As unhappy as they might be, their current misery seems safer than the alternatives. Everything new in life is a risk – and sometimes we choose not to take risks (and sometimes we do). It’s a choice.

13. Learn how to say no without apologies. No. No, thank you. No, I am not available. No, I am not interested. It is not impolite to be clear, direct and honest about your intentions. Don’t lead people on to believe that you are interested in doing things that you don’t want to do just because you are afraid to look rude. We’re all getting harassed on social media by former classmates and acquaintances who are selling plastic wrap they want you to believe will make you skinny or breakfast shakes that cost the same amount as your car payment. Just because you used to be buddies in 2nd grade doesn’t mean you owe someone your time, money or energy. I had a woman approach me in the grocery store not too long ago selling Mary Kay – she asked if I had ever tried it. I said “yes, years ago.” She pulled out her phone and asked if I wanted to book an appointment with her to try some samples, I said “No thank you.” She looked dumfounded and stumbled with various questions trying to get me to say yes. Women have a hard time saying no and sales people are trained to take advantage of that. (No offense to sales people – just using y’all as an example). The first couple of times you say no, you might feel a twinge of guilt or like you did something wrong. But I promise you it’s not rude. It’s way more rude to feign interest.

14. Other people’s priorities may not be the same as yours. This has been a tough one for me to learn too! I prioritize some things in my life that you might find silly. You may prioritize some things in your life that I think are silly. Neither of us are “right”. It’s all relative. I have a client who feels that she and her husband are growing apart. Because of their work schedules, the only time they’re both home is on the weekend, but she prefers to spend all day Saturday gardening and he prefers to spend all day Sunday cycling with friends. Neither is “wrong” but they are currently prioritizing their hobbies over their marriage. They might not see it that way, because gardening and cycling are a super important part of their limited free time but at the moment neither is willing to make a compromise with their hobbies for their marriage. They have different priorities and until they both shift to wanting to put their marriage first or one of them is willing to let their hobby take a backseat and join the other on theirs, she will continue to feel like they are growing apart. We’re all coming from different places, desires and needs and should be understanding that that means we place varying values on the same things. I can’t expect you to have the same priorities as me – but you also can’t expect me to have the same ones as you.

15. Your worth is not debatable or fluid. It’s not something that changes. You are worthy and valuable just as you are right now, just as you were 10 years ago, just as you will be 10 years from now. Your value is inherent – you are amazing and have the potential to do amazing things. Your situation and circumstances may change regularly but your core value as a human being never changes.  It doesn’t matter if you are 75 lbs overweight. You are not less valuable than you were when you were thinner. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t finish college. That doesn’t make you less valuable than someone with their Master’s. Get it out of your head that you’re not worthy. Let go of the urge to criticize (yourself or others).  It’s not cocky or conceited to know you are worthy deep down in your soul. A lot of people struggle with letting themselves feel loved or valuable because they think if they do it must mean that they are prideful or arrogant. That’s hogwash! We have nothing to do with our value or worth. We don’t deserve accolades or a pat on the back for being a valuable and worthy soul so there is nothing to be arrogant about. You’re valuable just because you ARE – not because of things you do or don’t do. Accept that you have this worth and let it fuel your choices in life. It’s a lot harder to make poor decisions when you know you are amazing and have the ability to do good stuff!

Phew! I didn’t mean for that to become such a long post! Do any of these speak to you? Have you found any of these to be important in your life? What lessons have you learned that help you live more peacefully? I’d love if you would share some of them with me.


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You’re Just Getting Started

We're never too old to begin something new.

We’re never too old to begin something new.

There are a lot of causes of unhappiness in adulthood. Clinical, depression, job loss, marriage troubles, health conditions, regret, worrying, weight issues, stagnation, comparison, envy, rigidity and grief to name just a few. I think there is a way we could increase the satisfaction and happiness we all feel in our lives as we age without too much trouble. We just have to not give up.

A lot of us have given up. And that sucks. Bear with me.

I think a lot of unhappiness in this world comes from people reaching a certain age (35, 45, 55 etc) and believing that they have reached their peak. They think they’ve done all that they’re going to do that’s significant and if they haven’t accomplished it by now, well they should just give up that dream and accept the fact that they squandered their years on earth and it’s time for them to just float into their twilight years as gracefully as they can. Why should we continue to work at something you’ve always loved if you haven’t made it by 35 or 45? And why begin anything new over 55? 65? There is an overwhelming pressure and even quiet acceptance that goal setting and creative pursuits are for the super young. I think our way out of misery is by not accepting that.

Our culture values youth more than almost anything else. We put pressures on young people to figure out what they want in life and actually go out and achieve it by 25. A small motivated and well supported (affluent) portion will do this – to some degree. Maybe they really don’t want to be in finance or be a doctor but it more than pays the bills and makes them look successful. The rest spend their 20’s feeling like they don’t fit in with their peers (who all seem to have it figured out – or are at least pretending to) and they wonder why everyone else has it figured out except for them? Where did I go wrong? Why can’t I have things figured out?

We hit our 30s and we do the same thing. We’re still young, although we know that we’re old enough that admitting that we never figured out our dreams or how to reach them is not something we’re willing to do – we don’t want to look like a slacker. Many of us have children and between work and kids, we don’t even have time to dedicate to spending on our dreams or creativity in our free time. We’re just psyched if we can get 5 or 6 hours of sleep a night. By our 40s we settle into whatever careers we’ve already been working in for 20 years and feel that glimmer of “it’s way too late” to change now. By our 50’s we start thinking about when the company is going to want to lay us off for someone younger who they can pay less and get to work more hours. The thought of going after our dreams is so far in the past now, that it doesn’t even seem like it was ever something we wanted. That must have been someone else. We’re just keeping our fingers crossed that we stay employed until we’re eligible for retirement.

WTF? How can we not be unhappy with this path for most of us?

The average life expectancy of a woman in the US is 81 and of a man is 76. That means we have the potential to spend decades of our life giving up and believing we’re “done” long before it’s over.

How can that not cause people to feel awful?

Is this what you want? Me neither.

I had the same dialogue above in my head in my 20’s and early 30’s. I remember being 23 and considering applying to grad school – and already I felt I was too old (because I’d be what, a whole 2 years older than most of the other students??).  Even when I went back to school and quit my job in 2013 (well into my 30’s), I was panicking that it was a huge mistake and that I was too “old” to jump ship like that. I spent all of my adult years prior to now believing that the boat had passed and a new career, ambition or hobby that was fulfilling would be too time consuming and would take too long for me to be able to do well. I pretty much started off my adult years already believing I was “old”.

If we think our lives are essentially over, growth-wise by our 30s, 40s or 50s (and yes even your 60s) that is the real problem, not our age or perceived lack of accomplishments.

While our culture may not value our years the way it does the super young or beautiful, there is no rule, no law and no restrictions on when you can start something new. It’s all in our heads.

Is it difficult to make a career change at any age? Totally. And yes, most people can’t up and quit like I did. But I’m not just speaking of career changes. Those hobbies you had while you were young that you gave up or pushed aside because you couldn’t figure out how to make a career out of them or you just didn’t have the time anymore? If you love them, make the time. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn a new language, learn how to knit or take a surfing lesson. Why not now? Make the time. Maybe you used to love to roller skate or ride your bike. Why not do it now?

Put those roller skates back on. Get on your bike. Climb a mountain. Keep moving and growing.

Put those roller skates back on. Get on your bike. Climb a mountain. Keep moving and growing.

Our life’s work isn’t the series of jobs we work or what high title we earned at that job. It’s the cumulation of who we are and who we affected during our short time here on earth. That might be done at your job, but it might also be done with art, writing, serving, who and how you give your time and energy. The more we give of ourselves to pursuits that encourage the best of us, bring out our creativity and light us up, the more we will be able to contribute to this world, the more we will leave behind and the more joy and happiness we will get to enjoy while we are still here. Our imprint on the universe is not the result of where we earned a paycheck, it is where we put our energies for the whole of our time. What do you want that to be? Why stop forming that imprint when you are still in your youth with so many more years to go?

I’ve had this conversation often with many people, including my husband, about trying new things or going back to old things we’ve given up when we contemplate our “age”, preventing stagnation or where we are in our lives. He jokes that he always thought he’d be a rockstar by our age. I always tell him, “why not be one now?” and he used to look horrified. Every time I’ve suggested that he should start playing music again, I always throw in a factoid about someone else over the age of 35 who has started something new or accomplished something awesome. Now when the conversation happens, I see less horror in his face and more “maybe”. That’s good enough for me. I’m going to share with you some of those people that I share with him. Hopefully they inspire you too!

A few people who’ve accomplished awesome stuff over the age of 35:

  • Grandma Moses, a well known American Folk Artist began her painting career at the age of 78.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien was 45 when The Hobbit was published (and 17 and 18 years later his Lord of Rings books were published) – the guy wasn’t done yet!
  • Betty Jones, a 92 year old woman from South Yorkshire, England, lost 98 lbs last year by going to the gym 5 days a week and taking swimming lessons. She is also a student Barnsley College (studying tailoring, cake decorating and healthy eating). She also decided to learn how to drive for the first time last fall. About all her accomplishments in her 90s “A lot of people seem to use age as a reason to give up, but I hope I can show them that you are never too old and you can do anything at any age.
  • James Bernard Bowler of Illinois, was (and still is) the oldest known Freshman member of the US House of Representatives, elected to office for the first time at the age of 78 (and winning his first election I might add).
  • Julia Child was in her mid 30’s when she began learning about french cooking and 50 when s Mastering the Art of French Cooking was published.
  • Susan Boyle was 48 when she was on Britain’s Got Talent and her debut album in 2009 became the UK’s best-selling debut album of all time. Prior to being discovered on Britain’s Got Talent, Susan’s only job had been as a trainee cook briefly in a college kitchen.
  • Leslie Jones at 47 years old is the oldest actor to ever join the cast of SNL.
  • Christopher Plummer won an Oscar at 82 years old (for Beginners). Jessica Tandy won at 80 years old (for Driving Miss Daisy).
  • Oscar Swahn of Sweden won a gold medal in the single shot events in the 1912 Olympics at 64 years of age (he is still the oldest person to ever win a gold medal).
  • Rodney Dangerfield didn’t make it big until he was on the Ed Sullivan show at 46 (and he was a last minute replacement for another performer).
  • Fred Hale Sr got his driver’s license for the first time at 104 years old.
  • Phyllis Diller started her stand up career at 37.
  • Toni Morrison published her first novel (The Bluest Eye) when she was 40.
  • John H Doc Ball was an American Surfer who was still surfing in Northern California until the end of his life at age 94.
  • Dr. Clarence Nicodemus, started medical school at 57, and graduated from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine at 61 years old in 2004 and is still practicing today in Monterey, CA.
  • Manoel De Oliveira, a Portuguese filmmaker (who won awards at Cannes and Venice) was still an active filmmaker the year before he passed at 106 years old.
  • Vera Wang, yes that Vera Wang, didn’t start her line in the world of fashion design until she was 40 (before that she was a figure skater and journalist).
  • Andrea Bocelli was 36 when his first album came out. He previously had worked as a lawyer during the day and played in piano bars at night. Singing was always his passion.

There are many many more people like this – going after really cool things at any age – we just have to look for them.

Paint. Draw. Read. Write. Create. Love. Grow. Develop. Pursue. Build. Life.

Paint. Draw. Read. Write. Create. Love. Grow. Develop. Pursue. Build. Life.

You have not accomplished your best work yet.
You are just getting started.
You haven’t gone on your greatest trip yet.
You haven’t painted your best painting.
You have yet to learn the most profound lesson of your life.
And there is still time to learn a new skill, try a new sport, take up dancing, learn to paint, volunteer at the old people’s home (even if you are the old people).
You can have many careers during your lifetime.
You don’t have to ever stop learning, creating or dreaming because of your age.
Keep creating and growing. You have so much more to give to this world before you go.

Believe that you’re just getting started and that all doors are open to you and I bet you will feel just a tiny bit more happy. Look for more proof of people doing cool things around you and grow those good feelings.

Now, what dream, goal, activity, hobby or creative pursuit have you always wanted to spend more time doing? When will you begin making time for this? How can you fit it into your current life?

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When Opportunity Knocks, do you slam the door in it’s face?

photo credit: tres rosas amarillas via photopin cc

photo credit: tres rosas amarillas via photopin cc

When an opportunity comes up for you, whether it be social, spiritual, career or otherwise, how do you handle it? Do you have a healthy balance of accepting and declining opportunities?  Are you good about weighing the pros and cons before you decide on something? Or do you rely on a gut feeling?

Gut feelings are incredibly important but what if that gut feeling always tells you to say no? Is this you? It’s a pretty common occurrence. For some of us, the urge to say no becomes a problem because it prevents us from exploring potential. Undoubtedly, people who suffer with this problem are choosing “no” out of fear.

Fear of not being good enough.
Fear of meeting new people.
Fear of looking dumb.
Fear of being rejected.
Fear of _____________.

Did you know that most of our fears are only what we tell them to be? Read that again.Our fears are only what we tell them to be. Sure, some fears are legit, but there are many that are mostly the product of negative thoughts that have little basis in reality. What do you tell your fears to be?

I’ve noticed over the years that in the areas of my life that I felt confident in, my instinct was always “Yes! I’d love to!”, but that in areas where I had fear, my instinct was “say no! You can’t do that! You’re not smart enough, poised or outgoing enough (insert whatever negative thought comes up for you).”

But what about me made any of these things true?  Nothing. I have no proof of any of this.  These are all things I told myself (for whatever reason). Our fears are only what we tell them to be and I had been telling them that I’m afraid of opportunities that make me feel vulnerable, opportunities that will encourage growth or those that bring about change. My fears were often about putting myself out there (taking risks) because god forbid I’m successful and great at what I do – then what will I have to fear?

Here’s the thing: opportunity knocks.  Sometimes it knocks loudly. Other times it’s so soft that we don’t even realize there was a knock at the door until we see it walking away. And sometimes opportunity knocks and we slam the door in it’s face rudely.  How likely is it that opportunity will come back when we do that?  Not very likely.  If you want opportunity to keep appearing in your life, you need to be willing to invite it inside sometimes.

To encourage MORE opportunities in your life (and this can be in any area – love, work, health, friendship etc), you should say yes, sometimes, even when you are scared. Say yes and figure out the hows, whats and whys later.  If you absolutely have to back out  (it’s a possibility) but don’t lock the door until you even know what you are saying no to.

With every YES to opportunity, you are telling the universe that you are up for the challenge, that you trust yourself, that you will take good care of this precious chance.  And just like with almost anything else in life, when you prove that you are reliable, willing and deserving, stuff starts to fall into your lap – because you’ve earned it.  You can earn opportunity too.

The tricky stuff is figuring out if that instinctual NO reaction is a gut feeling that should be paid attention to (such as in cases that could lead to bodily harm or legal risks – true danger), if you just don’t have any interest in the opportunity or if it’s a fear based No reaction. Remember our fears are only what we tell them to be.  If a NO is coming up for you when opportunity knocks, why?  If you just don’t want to do something, that’s fine.  If taking the opportunity could land you in jail or would risk your life, a No is completely reasonable.  But if that No is coming up because you are afraid of falling flat on your face, looking foolish, being vulnerable or because of some other reason you are telling yourself, test the waters by saying yes. Deep down you know if you should give something a chance – try to listen to that voice and quiet down the others.

Part of the reason opportunity stops knocking when we ignore it is because we actually cease to even see it. Opportunity will stop looking for you and you’ll stop looking for it, because it is easier to give your fears power, than it is to dive in and see where life takes you. All you’ll see are the opportunities others are given, and wonder why you don’t have the same fortune.  But you do!!

So what, if you fall on your face?
So what, if you look foolish?
So what, if you are vulnerable?

Weigh the pros and cons of taking a risk.  You might find that cons list is made up of things that are in your head and aren’t even real.

What opportunities have come your way that you wish you hadn’t said no to? Why did you say no?

One way I open my life to opportunity are with small things: smiling when I don’t feel like it, saying hi when I don’t feel like it, saying yes to a lunch date or a business meeting when I’m feeling shy or awkward etc.  Those things aren’t specifically opportunity knocking, but consider them on the same plane as giving directions to your house to “opportunity”.  He or she might not show up, but at least they know where you live if they’re in the neighborhood.

Don’t let your fears about who you are or who you think you should be before taking something (or someone) on, prevent you from trying new things or meeting new people.

Growth can be terrifying and uncomfortable.  One thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that while nerve wracking, doing things that scare me (that deep down I know I want to do) actually starts to feel invigorating the more I do it.  I can feel scared and excited at the same time, but the excitement wins every time – because by taking chances, I’m teaching myself that the risk of looking foolish or falling on my face really isn’t as bad as sitting at home and hoping I someday have the life I want to have.

So please listen to your gut, but don’t be afraid to question it if it keeps putting out the same answer when there’s a knock at your door.

Now it’s your turn to share.  What is something you know you need or want to do but are scared about doing?  What are you worried about? Comment below or leave your response on my facebook page.  There is someone out there who also shares your fear and would benefit from hearing you share it!

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