Letting Go

This week we continue with my ninth installment in our list of suggestions for how we could live and operate our businesses from a place of greater happiness…

Suggestion #1: Assume the best.
Suggestion #2: Roll with it.
Suggestion #3: Visualize responsibly.
Suggestion #4: Say what you want and expect.
Suggestion #5: Stop comparing.
Suggestion #6: Take the leap.
Suggestion #7: Lend a hand.
Suggestion #8: Be selective and guard your time.
Suggestion #9: Let go.

As I write this, Tom and I are closing up our summer cabin for the year. It’s quite a job. We take 3 days to pack our clothes and bedding, clean out the food, strip and cover the beds, and sweep out ashes from the fireplace and wood stove. Tom will haul the grill and patio furniture down to the basement, take down the flagpole, unscrew the shade cloth over the deck, drain the water pipes, lower the chimney screen, shutter the windows and doors, and lower the deck railings for the heavy amounts of snow that will fall from the roof over the winter. In our best effort to deter our furry bear friends, we spray the kitchen down with Lysol and soak all the doorways and windows with Pine-Sol, which apparently is somewhat of a bear and critter repellent.

Tom’s great-grandfather built this cabin in 1924. It’s small and rustic and drafty. But, every corner of the Belt’s Silver Firs Cabin is filled with family memories and traditions of playing games, reading good books, roasting marshmallows, singing songs, or warming by the fire after kayaking, fishing, hiking, or swimming at Echo Lake.

Tonight, will be our last night to delight in this peaceful and sentimental sanctuary for the next nine long months until we open again, God willing, sometime in June of 2018. Tomorrow morning, we will take our last hike in the white pines and red firs, drink our last drop of water from the spring, and rest our gaze for one final time on the majestic Sierras and pristine waters of Echo.

It’s always bittersweet when we back the car and fishing boat, both loaded to the gills (no pun intended), out of the driveway and look up at the winterized, stripped-down cabin with its boarded doors and shuttered windows. We say a silent prayer that the powers-that-be will protect her in our winter absence from snow damage, fire, broken water pipes, human vandals, and hungry bears until the snows melt and the forest awakens to welcome another Spring.

In saying that prayer, I’m reminded that every time I’m feeling sad, disheartened, regretful, or any negative emotion… that is my absolute sign to flip my internal switch and let go. Let go of what I’m leaving behind. Let go of what is missing. Let go of the things I didn’t say or do. Let go of the things I did say or do. Let go of all the things that I can’t change or control.

Because when we let go, we allow. We allow goodness, worth, opportunity, creativity, gratitude, and abundance to fill the space. We make room for what can be, what’s next, what is here, what we do have, and what we can still do. When we let go of that heavy, negative emotion, we make room for the higher, lighter, easier emotion of happiness… because true happiness can never really be achieved without a large dose of letting go.

What do you need to let go of: A failed relationship, anger toward someone, come to terms with the death of a loved one, some heavy feelings about what you don’t have or haven’t accomplished, things you didn’t say or do, or wish you could take back, or the fear of change?

I don’t mean to say that letting go is easy. Life is filled with loss… sometimes big loss. And the greater the loss and the deeper and stronger the negative emotion, the harder it is to wrap our arms around the process of letting go. But, it’s worth the effort. There are events in my life about which I will probably never get full “closure.” But, in a determined effort to live more of my life in a state of joy and happiness (and with the help of some very wise counsel), I’ve made great progress in managing my losses and regrets and creating space for the gifts and goodness around me to fill the void. It’s an ongoing process but, like all 10 of our suggestions… it gets easier and easier with practice.

Don’t let go of your dreams for they are positive energy pulling you forward and giving you motivation, drive, and desire. Do let go of anything that makes you feel prolonged sadness, anger, despair, or envy.

This week, just let go. Identify what’s creating those low-level emotions and “open up” the space for all the good to pour in. You are not alone. We all have things that we need to let go. If you need to, reach out for support. Find someone who you can talk to but only someone who will help you deal with it and move forward.

Remember, you are resilient, worthy, and pure positive energy if you will simply allow it to shine.

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“Letting go helps us to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress
and opens us up for more joy.”   ~~Melody Beattie

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Be Selective and Guard Your Time

This week we continue with my eighth installment in our list of suggestions for how we could live and operate our businesses from a place of greater happiness…

Suggestion #1: Assume the best.
Suggestion #2: Roll with it.
Suggestion #3: Visualize responsibly.
Suggestion #4: Say what you want and expect.
Suggestion #5: Stop comparing.
Suggestion #6: Take the leap.
Suggestion #7: Lend a hand.
Suggestion #8: Be selective and guard your time.

When I travel, I put my valuables in the safe. I subscribed to a service that protects my credit. If I possessed a lot of actual cash, I wouldn’t keep it under my mattress and, if I did, I’d check it often and take precautions to safeguard it.

But, we all have something much more precious than money or diamonds. Something we can’t make any more of… our time. And, we squander it pretty ruthlessly sometimes. In fact, we often give it away willingly to the worst of thieves: Negative people, selfish people, egotistical people, pessimistic people, people who gossip, people who constantly complain, people who won’t stop talking, people who want our services for free, people who don’t respect our time, unreasonable people, people whom we can never please.

We can’t rid the world or our lives of these types of people but we can be selective and discerning about those to whom we will give our precious time and attention. If we want to run businesses that are delightful to work in and for and live lives that feel, by and large, happy… we must guard our time and be selective with whom we spend time. When we fill our client list, contact list, social media accounts, and our social calendars with people who fill our buckets, expand our horizons, respect our time, are loyal, fun and positive, we just feel better.

So, treat your time like Fort Knox. Only give it willingly to those who deserve and respect it. Your business and your psyche will thank you for it!


“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money.
It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time. ”
~~Steve Jobs

 

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Lend a Hand

This week we continue with my seventh installment in our list of suggestions for how we could live and operate our businesses from a place of greater happiness…

Suggestion #1: Assume the best.
Suggestion #2: Roll with it.
Suggestion #3: Visualize responsibly.
Suggestion #4: Say what you want and expect.
Suggestion #5: Stop comparing.
Suggestion #6: Take the leap.
Suggestion #7: Lend a hand.

As I write this week’s Stretch, Irma is hours away from slamming the Florida coast while Houstonians and many other Texans from the exact area where I grew up are cleaning up after Hurricane Harvey. As sad as I was to watch and learn of the devastation, the constant media coverage of the storm provided an unintended respite from the images of our divisiveness as a nation on all things political. In Houston, heroes showed up from every walk of life, every creed and color, and with only a desire to lend a hand and help out a fellow human being.

I had a proud Mama Moment when I learned that my 20-something son living in Austin got so sick of the feeling of helplessness while watching all the news reports that he decided to throw some lifejackets and inflatable dingy in the back of a pickup and head down to Houston with a couple of buddies to see how they could help. They ended up rescuing about 30+ people before they had to head back. He said he was on a high for days afterward and couldn’t stop thinking about other ways he could make “lending a hand” a permanent part of his life.

Giving back, helping others, and contributing to the greater good is one of the quickest and surest ways to feel happier, improve our sense of well-being, restore perspective and optimism, and build a sense of gratitude and abundance. It pulls us away from our own self-absorption.

My friend, Deb Berecz, wrote last week in her newsletter about Steve Hartman’s expose on CBS Sunday Morning on how Harvey had “pounded us with perspective.” He said, “Most Americans are heroes just waiting for their moment… and when Mother Nature is at its worst, human nature is at its best.” https://www.cbsnews.com/videos/when-human-nature-surmounts-mother-nature/ 

But, we don’t have to wait for a natural disaster or national crisis. You will receive this on September 11th which of course marks one of our country’s most horrific moments and some of our most heroic as well. When Tom and I toured the 9-11 Museum earlier this year, it was filled with stories of people who became heroes by deciding to lend a hand. But you don’t have to climb up a burning building. My stepmother volunteers every year at the local senior center and helps seniors file their taxes. A friend’s grandson chops firewood on their property which he delivers to those that will need it this winter. Last week, in Milwaukee, a man in front of me at a coffee shop paid for a homeless person’s meal. Small things matter. They add up over time and make the giver feel as good as the receiver which of course just makes us want to do more and more.

This week, think about what you can do as an individual and discuss as a team how you can reach out, shift your focus from yourselves to others, and lend a hand to someone in need.

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divider“Giving is an expression of gratitude for our blessings.”
~~Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen

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Music Monday: One Last Caress

60522703 - silhouette children open hands in the sunsetIf Memorial Day weekend officially ushers in summertime, Labor Day weekend is the closing bookend to it.  You’ll be receiving this Stretch on Labor Day Monday and I hope you’re outside soaking up the warm sunshine doing something you love.  As you celebrate, Tom and I will be in the beginning stages of thinking about… kind of… sort of… maybe… sometime soon… moving toward… getting ready to begrudgedly start the process of closing up our summer cabin in the Sierras and winterizing it to survive the rugged snows and blistering cold that will surely come.

Even though I love spending hot afternoons floating in a cool swimming pool, hiking on sunny mountain trails, and enjoying long, warm evenings on the porch, I always look forward to Fall and on Labor Day weekend, I can sense the coming change in my bones just off in the distance. 

It’s been said a million different ways that the secret to life is being able to roll with the unending changes that make the world go ‘round.  The changing of the seasons is a visual reminder that everything’s in motion, everything changes.  The good and the bad.  The easy and the difficult.  The windfall and the shortfall.  Embracing each “easy season” with the knowledge that it will surely change as well as each “difficult season” with the knowledge that it will surely get better, is a masterful way to navigate life. 

And so on this Music Monday (always the first Monday of every month), as we think about packing our bathing suits away and pulling our sweaters out of mothballs, I’ve chosen The Summer Knows, the theme song from the movie, The Summer of ’42.  It’s become a classic standard sung by Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, and Tony Bennett.  I gave you two versions this month.  The first one performed by Nancy LaMott is a favorite of mine, especially this time of year.  The second is a dazzling performance by the very young Jackie Evancho masterfully accompanied on the trumpet by Jummane Smith.  The last verse is bittersweet and always seems to ease me into the shoulder month of September, the Fall of the year, and the next season of life.  I hope it does the same for you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This holiday week we are recycling a favorite MMS from last year.  Our new subscribers will enjoy Katherine’s story and the lessons she took from the experience. And to all of our MMS readers who have been loyal subscribers from the beginning… you’ll remember why we love seeing the world of business and life through the eyes of The Lioness.

Nancy LaMott

Nancy LaMott

Jackie Evancho

Jackie Evancho

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Summer Knows

“The summer knows. The summer’s wise.
She sees the doubt within your eyes.
And so she takes her summer time,
Tells the moon to wait and the sun to linger,
Twists the world ’round her summer finger,
Let’s you see the wonder of it all.
And if you’ve learned your lesson well,
There’s little more for her to tell.
One last caress.
It’s time to dress,
for Fall.”

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Take the Leap

This week we continue with my sixth installment in our list of suggestions for how we could live and operate our businesses from a place of greater happiness…

Suggestion #1: Assume the best.
Suggestion #2: Roll with it.
Suggestion #3:
Visualize responsibly.
Suggestion #4:
Say what you want and expect.
Suggestion #5:
Stop comparing.
Suggestion #6:
Take the leap.

We know what we like. We know what piques our interest. We know what we dream about and long for. We also know what we don’t like and what we wish were different. But, fear often stops us from exploring, experimenting, or just plain risking and stepping into something new and better. Whether it’s a new relationship, a new job, a new home, or a different point of view, change involves risk and human beings naturally tend to avoid the discomfort and stay put.

Sometimes staying put and avoiding risk adds to our happiness. But many times, fear anchors us in a place that’s less than what we could be and limits our ability to experience something far better. When I talk with the happiest people I know, they all tell me that at some point they decided that the risk of staying where they were was greater than the risk of making a change in terms of their happiness… and they took a big leap or at least … just started walking.

I’ve certainly not indulged in every whim that presents itself. And when I do consider a change, I do my homework, am thoughtful about the pros and cons, and seek good counsel before making a big change in my work or life. But, I’ve also determined that I don’t have to have it all figured out to start down a different path because even if I think I do have all the steps lined out … it never seems to go that way anyway. I’ve found a lot of courage in reminding myself that most of the time, “I can always go back to the way I’ve been doing it, if this doesn’t prove to be a great choice.” And, I rarely ever go back.

A full, abundant life and deeply satisfying work almost always involves taking some risks. Notice what you like and want more or less of and be brave. Live boldly. Take some risks. Take a step. It’s the only way to move away from what you don’t want and toward more of what you do. Don’t wait and be paralyzed by not having it all figured out. Sometimes to get to a place of greater happiness, you just have to believe in yourself, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and jump!

 

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Stop Comparing

This week we continue with my fifth installment in our list of suggestions for how we could live and operate our businesses from a place of greater happiness…

Suggestion #1: Assume the best.
Suggestion #2: Roll with it.
Suggestion #3: Visualize responsibly.
Suggestion #4: Say what you want and expect.
Suggestion #5: Stop comparing.

As I write this week’s Stretch, we are currently living and working from Tom’s beloved summer cabin nestled in the Western Sierras where we spend 6-10 weeks a year if we can manage it. Located just 13 miles southwest of Lake Tahoe, Silver Firs is a rustic gem of a cabin only 150 yards away from two small but stunningly beautiful alpine lakes called Echo Lakes. Upper Echo and Lower Echo are connected by a tiny but navigable channel and ringed on almost all sides by vintage lakefront cabins. Like Tom’s, most were built in the 1920’s when the Forest Service advertised in the San Francisco and LA newspapers for adventurous and hearty people who were interested in journeying up to build cabins on Forest Service land which they could lease for $1 a year.

At the time, none of the cabins had electricity or plumbing and were little more than camp houses with bunks and a fireplace. Building materials like lumber and rock were harvested from the local forest and waterways. Drinking water was piped from nearby mountain springs or from the lake itself and outhouses were built for daytime use while chamber pots served at night mostly out of a healthy respect for the local black bears.

The road to Echo Lakes dead-ends at the leading edge of the Lower Lake, turning into a well-worn foot-trail around both lakes (which is one of the prettiest and most travelled sections of the Pacific Crest Trail.) Cabin owners on the lakefront had to barge, boat, canoe, or backpack their building supplies and living essentials to construct and outfit their cabins. This is still the case to this day.

While Silver Firs and all the cabins that line the road down to Echo Lakes did eventually get electricity, indoor toilets, and phone service in the 50’s, the cabins on the lake never did. Some lakefront cabins have installed solar or occasionally use a gas generator but most still have propane-lit lanterns at night and heat their hot water with pipes that circulate at the back of their fireplaces.

But even without these modern comforts, they are heavily sought-after properties. They enjoy unobstructed views of the pristine lake on which they reside surrounded by stunning granite cliffs and rugged mountains generously sprinkled with Red Fir, White and Lodgepole pines which were the constant muse of John Muir.

Compared to the cabins on the road, they have no traffic noise or hordes of day hikers looking for a place to park. Instead of the hassle of launching their boat in morning to go fishing or a canoe or kayak in the evening for a tranquil ride around the lake, most “Lakers” have private boat docks right on the water on which they can enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning sunshine and then hop right in their boat any time they choose.

They are indeed truly special places. And so, every time we kayak around the lake or picnic at one of the tiny islands for the day, we admire the beautiful lakefront cabins with their private boat docks and picturesquely quiet settings. We often wonder… why did Tom’s ancestors choose to build a few yards up the road from the lake instead of right on the water? They certainly could have had their pick at the time. Wouldn’t it have been so much better even then? We contemplate what our summers would be like now if his great-grandparents had made a different choice. We compare what the “Lakers” have and enjoy with what we “on the road” can’t and don’t.

Tom has his theory: Most people who took advantage of the government’s offer resided somewhere in Northern California and so didn’t have that far of a distance to travel. But a few, like Tom’s great-grandparents, were from much further south in the LA basin. Looking back at the old black-and-white photos of his ancestors making the multi-day trek in their Model T on two-lane roads and eventually on steep dirt logging roads as they climbed to the summit at 7500 feet hauling what supplies they could, convinced Tom that it must have seemed immensely easier to build on the road just steps away from the lake. Also, because they were about 300 feet higher, at the time they had a beautiful view of South Lake Tahoe from their porch. Not one cabin on the lake can see even a fraction of beautiful Lake Tahoe. Compared to the relative desert environment of the LA basin, it must have seemed like heaven to have both a Tahoe view, be within a stone’s throw of Echo Lakes, and not have to hassle with barging building supplies up the lake to construct your cabin. Makes total sense when you think about it now. And yet we wonder, and compare, and lament, and even envy.

And then thankfully, eventually, we ask ourselves if we’ve actually lost our ever-loving minds? How many people do we know who would give anything for a spot as sweet as Silver Firs? How many hikers walk by every weekend and look up at the cabin commenting in passing as to what it would be like to own or even rent a cabin like ours for the season?

Why are we never satisfied with what we have, what we are, what we’ve accomplished, or what we do? Those people have a bigger boat. She has more money. They have a nicer place. He gets all the lucky breaks. She’s thinner, prettier, younger, stronger, richer, funnier. There is seriously no end to the nasty habit of comparing ourselves, our businesses, or our cabins, to others. It’s a downward spiral that has no conclusion other than to make us feel inadequate, insecure, and jealous and worse yet… to miss the wonder of who we are, what we’ve accomplished, and what we have right in front of us.

This week… Stop it. Just stop it. Join me in stopping the incessant comparison to others. Let’s stand in our own inherent greatness, unique beauty, one-of-a-kind experience, and personal point of view. There will always be something better, grander, and more appealing no matter what we do, become, or obtain so join me in committing to this: Set your sights on what you want and fall in love with the journey to obtaining it and in the meantime, steadfastly reject the urge to succumb to the utterly useless emotion of envy and comparison and refuse to miss the glorious gifts laid right at your feet.


“Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men. It then appears that we are among the privileged.”
~~ Helen Keller

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Say What You Want and Expect

Continuing on this week with our list of suggestions for how we could live and operate our businesses from a place of greater happiness… here’s my fourth suggestion…  

Suggestion #1: Assume the best.
Suggestion #2: Roll with it.
Suggestion #3:
Visualize responsibly.
Suggestion #4: Say What You Want and Expect

This one is really pretty easy. No matter how much we wish it were different, people just can’t read our minds. If something needs to get done, be done differently, or is super important to us… we must make those expectations known. Otherwise, we are likely to have a lot of unmet expectations which I think can be pinned as one of the primary root causes for a ton of our unhappiness.

Early in my life and truthfully for most of my first marriage, I had “giving the silent treatment” and pouting down to a science when someone hurt my feelings or did not meet my expectations. Thankfully, as I have matured and developed more mature relationships, I have found that voicing what I need or simply letting it go definitely produces more joy and less unhappiness for me personally.

Friends, co-workers, and loved ones aren’t thinking about us 24/7. They’re bound to occasionally forget birthdays, underestimate how important something is to us, fail to notice our new outfit, or even miss a commitment. Recently in one week, my son forgot all about a phone call we had scheduled, a friend showed less than the expected sympathy for a challenge I was having with a client, and Tom didn’t even notice that I had cut my hair shorter after returning home from the salon. It had the potential to become a “bad week” or I could choose to check my expectations and decide that no one is trying to hurt my feelings… and that my expectations were either slightly unreasonable or unexpressed.

Mature people and good communicators step up and stop the pouting. They express what they need and they are watchful for the things they could simply let go. They work hard at remembering that we are responsible for how we feel … not other people. This understanding can be sobering but it can also be freeing.

I don’t think we can run our businesses or our lives without having some expectations of those around us. But, I’m a big believer in the idea that almost all upsets can be traced back to a missing agreement (the other party didn’t really know) or a broken one (they did know but for some reason broke it.) When we speak to people in our lives with the intent of creating and clarifying agreements about those things that are really important to us, we set ourselves up for having a lot less unmet or unrealistic expectations and a whole lot more joy and happiness.

This week, stop waiting for people to read your mind. Say what you need and let the rest go… and just notice the amount of freedom and happiness that rushes in to fill the gap.

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“To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So, change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary, leave the situation, or accept it. All else is madness.”
~Eckhart Tolle

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Visualize Responsibly

Last week, I started a list of suggestions for how we could live and operate our businesses from a place of greater happiness. I could have easily titled it, “Top Ten Ways We Make Our Lives Miserable and Our Work Harder Than It Has To Be.” Here’s our third suggestion…

Suggestion #1: Assume the best.
Suggestion #2: Roll with it.
Suggestion #3: Visualize responsibly.

My physician’s office calls and wants to discuss a lab report… and I immediately visualize cancer and begin thoughts of how and where I’ll tell Tom. I buy internet service on the plane and after landing realize that I’ve left my ATM card in the seat pocket… and my brain immediately rolls into the likelihood of a massive identity breech which will haunt me for years to come. A client leaves a message wanting to suspend our mystery shopper call program with their practice… and I instantly assume that it’s a permanent suspension and the result of some mistake made by one of my team members.

Like many, I have a bad habit of jumping forward from a relatively neutral event to one that isn’t even remotely likely, panicking and acting like a child in the moment, and then being hugely relieved when the actual outcome is something significantly better. This sloppy practice causes me undue stress and anxiety when the vast majority of the time, things work out just fine.

Two weeks ago, I wrote that Suggestion #1 for improving your happiness advantage was to “Assume the Best” which focused on ascribing good intent to actions of people you meet. This week’s suggestion, Visualize Responsibly, is focused more on the situations that happen to us.

All events are neutral. We give them meaning. And if we can attach one meaning to them, we can always attach a different one. When we worry and assume the very worst outcomes, we are visualizing unintentionally and, if you will… irresponsibly. Visualizing responsibly is being intentional about our assumptions and, better than “hoping for the best,” actually expecting the best.

Someone told me once that when unexpected things happen to them, they try to ask themselves these three things:

1) What’s the worst that could happen?
2) What’s the best that could happen?
3) What’s most likely to happen?

What’s most likely to happen is almost always not the catastrophic apocalypse we’ve been imagining. What’s most likely to happen is usually that things work out one way or the other. When we remain calm, take a deep breath, visualize a great outcome (or at least what is most likely to happen), we become the leader we want to be. The leader that others describe as level-headed, reliable, and wise. Someone others want to follow in good times and, maybe more importantly, in the bad ones.

It’s Music Monday (always the first Monday of every month) and this time I’m featuring “The Freedom Song” performed by Jason Mraz in a video that shows him playing it live at the Freedom Awards. The footage behind Jason was taken during his 2010 visit to Ghana with Free the Slaves and is sung by children freed from slavery. The song also has a cool backstory as it was originally written by Luc Renaud during his visit to Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Luc wrote the song with children he met at a shelter during the disaster.

Really… If children freed from slavery and those residing in a shelter after losing everything can write and sing a song like this one, then surely we can keep calm and carry on all the good work we are called to do out there in the world no matter what life and business throw us, right?

Call it the Law of Attraction, karma, or just plain common sense but positivity breeds more positive outcomes and optimism breeds more prosperity. In a recent article in Thought Catalog, the author wrote this: “(Negativity) is a happiness riptide. It will carry you away from shore and if you don’t swim away from it, will pull you under.”

Ride the waves of powerful intention and watch how swiftly they carry you to the shores of happiness.

Jason Mraz – The Freedom Song

“I picture something, it’s beautiful
It’s full of life, and it is all blue
I see the sunset on the beach, yeah
It makes me feel calm
When I’m calm, I feel good
And when I feel good, I sing
And the joy it brings makes me feel good
And when I feel good, I sing
Of the joy it brings
I see birds fly across the sky
Everyone’s heart flies together
Food is frying and people smiling
Like there is no other way to feel good
[Chorus]
I say come on along
I know you really wanna feel our song
We’ve got some life to bring
We’ve got some joy in this thing
(Repeat)

Can you feel
Can you feel
Can you feel
The joy that it brings
If you can feel the joy then you should let yourself sing
Hey I love to share my things

‘Cause it brings me freedom
Got to get you some of that freedom
It’s a smile you can feel in your heart beat
Singing freedom
You deserve your freedom
It’s in the feeling that beauty
Freedom
Well it’s all for you
All for you
All for you
All for you
Freedom
Got to get you some of that
Got to get you some of that
Got to get you some of that
Freedom”

 

 

Sunsets, Pina Coladas, and
Level 2* Transformational Training!

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October 2017 Workshop* in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii!

Level II*
The Lioness Principle™
TRANSFORMATIONAL TRAINER’S WORKSHOP*
Calling All Cats! Level 1 cubs are all grown up and now it’s on to the next generation of Lions and Lionesses. World-class trainer Katherine Eitel Belt proudly presents a course that will help you stay ahead of the herd and advance your training prowess even further!
Wed. Oct. 25, 2017 – Thurs. October 26, 2017

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Early Bird pricing through August 31, 2017

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Roll With It

Last week, I started a list of suggestions for how we could live and operate our businesses from a place of greater happiness.  This is a list of what could make us happier people and better business leaders but it could also be interpreted as a list of the things that make us miserable or our lives and businesses harder than it has to be… if we don’t pay attention to them.  This list won’t be a completely comprehensive one, how could it be?  I’m positive that each one of you could add a suggestion or two.  But, it will be the top ten choices from my own study, both anecdotal and researched.  Here’s our second installment…

Suggestion #1:  Assume the best.

Suggestion #2:  Roll with it.

We all believe that what we are seeing and experiencing in our work and life is THE reality.  We write our own movie all the time and we’ve been at the center of it with every experience.  We know what we want to happen.  The problem is everyone else is living inside their own movie too… and it’s not the same as ours.  According to our script, others forget their lines, don’t love us properly or at all, don’t give us the raise or promotion we deserve, and sometimes leave us at the absolute worst time… and our movie is ruined.

Don’t hold too tight to your pre-written script for business or life.  I tell speakers that I coach all the time that of course we have to prepare and practice but on the day of their performance, the very best speakers let go, connect with what this audience is going to give them and embrace whatever is bound to show up in the room.  It rarely ever goes exactly as we’d planned.  The best speakers let go of their script and step fully into the moment wide open and agile… accepting fully “what is.”

We have to constantly be rewriting our script or even better, lose it altogether.  Let someone else star in it once in a while.  Welcome in new characters.  Embrace plot twists.  Laugh at set and costume malfunctions.  And notice how much more fluid your life and business becomes when you don’t hold too tight to the “way it’s supposed to go or be” and instead embrace “what is.”


“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”  ~~Ann Landers

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Seeing the Best

Does being happy matter in business? I think it does, and there is plenty of current research to show that it matters more and more to the customers, clients, and patients in today’s marketplace. 
  
Someone asked me recently, “How is it that you’re able to be so happy with all that’s going on in the world today?” They were speaking specifically about the political and racial climate, but you can “fill in the blank” with your own topic. 
  
We all know it’s a choice. It’s a decision to feel happy despite what others feel and in spite of what may be happening around us. It’s a determination to not only feel good and find the good when things are going well but also even when they are not. It’s a commitment to find the good and the beautiful even when there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. It’s a belief that feeling bad for very long doesn’t accomplish anything constructive especially in relation to the things we’d like to change or improve. 
  
But how? How do we do it consistently? What is it that happy people do or understand that the rest of us don’t on a regular basis? Over the next few weeks, I’m going to take a stab at that question. I’ve done some research and talked to others who I know to be basically happy and living most of their life in joy and gratitude, and I’ve done some thinking about the tools, techniques, and mindsets that have helped me personally move into and stay fairly consistent with one of the happiest phases of my life so far. I’ll submit them as suggestions to living a happier life and employing happiness as a solid business strategy for yourself and your team.
Suggestion #1: Assume the best.
Your charity didn’t include you in the list of contributors, even though you donated. You weren’t invited to dinner when a group of colleagues went out. Someone cut you off on the freeway. The cashier short-changed you. And you are mad… or at the least, offended. 
  
We ascribe bad intent and get offended so easily without ever really knowing the truth for sure. Sometimes people are upfront about their true intentions, but most of time we just assume it for them. I don’t think we are on the minds of most people to whom we ascribe poor intent nearly as often as we think we are. I believe that most of the time these episodes (which we think are personal affronts, intentional slights, or outright attacks) are more often innocuous and accidental at best or misguided mistakes at the worst. 
  
Happy people do not do this. They are in the habit of assuming the best in others and intentionally assigning good intent, or at least neutral intent, until proven otherwise. This doesn’t mean they necessarily like what happens, but they don’t automatically assume the worst in everyone or every situation. 
  
This week, heighten your awareness about how quickly you ascribe poor intent without real proof. Notice the lightness and happiness when you decide to assign the person or situation a dose of good intention instead. Cut them some slack. Make room for mistakes (remembering times when you may have done or said something similar without meaning it.) Exercise grace and forgiveness. It’s not weakness but rather great strength to see the best in the face of the worst. This is the core of optimism… a key component in great self-leadership. 

“Grace has been defined at the outward expression
of the inward harmony of the soul. ” 
~~ William Hazlitt
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