Change Your Perspective, Change Your Life

I believe that deep down we are all striving to live the very best life we can. However, because our lives are in a constant state of flux, it is essential to pay attention to the thoughts, feelings, and actions that these changes bring about. It is easy to get stuck in old thoughts or patterns that keep us stuck or otherwise limit our lives. When this happens it is important to take a deeper look inside, change what we can and then muster all the courage we have and take a step into our own life. This helps us to embrace a larger perspective for ourselves and for the world.

Even though we know it is important to pay attention to our lives, we do not have a manual that helps us find a path that works for us. I don’t believe that everything in life needs to be analyzed, but if something is bothering you that you cannot shake, it’s time to take a deeper look inside for answers.

One of the tools that I think is especially insightful and empowering is learning to look at things from a new perspective. This is the process of looking at what happened or what you are feeling from many different angles to gain insight and create a path forward that is kinder and more compassionate toward all involved, especially yourself.

One common theme that many people struggle with is something I call the “Not Enough” syndrome. Most of us have some version of that that informs us that we are not smart enough, thin enough, or have enough money. This idea is so deep-seated in our brains that it runs like a virus and informs our thoughts and actions. Once we are aware of this we can choose to see it in another way. For some reason, the negative things in our life carry the more emotional weight that weighs us down and makes us feel bad. So it is a matter of balancing the scales. For example, where in your life is there evidence that whatever bothers you is not true? What is this story without the drama? What other ways can you look at this?

I like to say, don’t believe everything you think because those thoughts keep you hostage. If you are looking for a new perspective allow your thoughts to become flexible, in other words, there might be more than one way to think about it and more than one right answer or way to solve it. Imagine if what you think is not right but a matter of reacting to an old pattern that was never true, to begin with.

When we allow ourselves the flexibility to change our minds and to open ourselves up to another viewpoint, our life opens up. I have owned a beautiful wooden kaleidoscope for a long time that reminds me that I get to change my mind. With the smallest twist, the image completely changes, and another picture emerges, not necessarily better or worse, just different than before. That can be a reminder for you too that when you change the way you think about things, you will open yourself to new possibilities that you never saw before. Staying open and flexible fosters more choices and creative ways that will help you navigate life with more ease and less stress.

NEW OFFERING: MONTHLY COFFEE TALK

Each month I will be hosting a coffee talk to talk more about Personal growth. This will be a online Zoom event and is a complementary offering. I will send a separate email with all the details. Let me know if this sounds interesting to you or topics you would like to see covered.

 

 

 

The Power of Flexibility: Increasing Your Own Well-Being

If you think I am talking about how much you can bend or stretch your body, touch your toes or how much range of motion you have, you would be only partially right. The more flexible our body is, the better able we are to preform our everyday tasks with ease. As we age, we know that this is an important aspect that helps preform the things we want to do with less pain and discomfort.

Since we know that physical flexibility keeps us healthy, so does mental flexibility. By that I mean the ability to be able to consider many ways to overcome an obstacle, the ability and willingness to change how we think about things so that we can move from our old ways of thinking and doing things to embrace something new. All of us can get stuck in the way we have always done something but that seldom serves us well.

Most of the limits we have in life are self-imposed. We make and create ways of being that can keep us stuck in a pattern of behaving and thinking that does not serve us. Every time we do that, we limit our life. For example, I find that I like things in my house to be a certain way.  However, when family come to visit for an extended visit the house looks like a tornado hit it. I used to get crabby and upset that everything was in such a mess so I would focus my energy to restore order, missing the fun of enjoying my family. I had not realized how stuck I was in having to have things a certain way until I felt the discomfort of not being present for my family. When you look at your own places you might also see behaviors or thinking that have kept you stuck and not able to move forward. Especially as we get older, it is easier to say I just won’t do that anymore, rather than to look for ways that you can do what you want.

One of the most powerful tools that we have in our personal growth toolbox is the opportunity to change our perspective. In essence, with every obstacle before us, we can stay stuck where we are, or we have the opportunity to move forward: it is always up to us. In other words, change your perspective, change your life.

Keep in mind that we live in a faced paced world, so our ability to transform what we are given every moment is our greatest skill and most treasured asset. Learn to recognize the places where you have emotional discomfort and rather than accepting or fighting the feeling, take a moment to STOP and name what you are feeling and be grateful for the chance to change it. PAUSE to take some deep breaths and let yourself find a calm place where you can REFLECT. With a journal in hand or a piece of paper, make a list of what is happening in your life that is causing issues for you. Try your best to stay out of the story of what is happening by making the list as simple and true as you can. It is the story that we create that keeps us stuck more than the actual event.

When you are ready, TAKE A STEP. For each item on the list, ask yourself what you need to make a positive change. Ask yourself what mindset or perspective would help you take a small step forward and then do it.

When life happens, we must adjust our sails and find new ways to navigate our lives that will open us to possibility, rather than limiting what we can do or accomplish. It is so not so much about what are circumstances are now, but more about the mindset that anything can and does happen when we open ourselves to possibility.

I believe with each choice; we are making our own possibilities. Just remember, never underestimate the power of your choices, as they propel you forward or hold you back.

When choices are made from a place of what is possible, rather than limitations, we add energy to the process by creating many paths to reach the same place. I have found that each step taken, it leads to the next when er are open to what is possible, and that that can lead us to new ways of thinking and acting that will increase our overall well-being.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Success always Leaves Clues

One of the most important aspects of personal growth is the idea that success always leaves clues. When people talk about their success it is often in terms of how lucky they were, or they just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I have found from my years of working with people that they don’t often think about the role they played in achieving that success.

Just last week I was talking to my daughter-in-law about a big opportunity that had come her way, one she could never have imagined for herself. She also talked about being lucky, being in the right place at the right time, and knowing a few key people. However, she told me how this had come about it was evident that she had done action steps that put her in a position where this was a possibility.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe there is a lot to say about the synchronicity of how things come about: It just does not happen out of the blue, it happens because you have put yourself out there. Maybe you have taken a risk to do something that is out of your comfort zone or maybe you have been courageous in how you decided to take action or changed your attitude from negative to positive.  You somehow have put yourself in a position where you are open and ready to receive whatever the universe brings to you.

If you look back on something that you thought was just a “lucky fluke” I bet, you can see that you had done something to put yourself out there. My daughter in law that was courageously taking a chance on presenting at a conference. If she had not done that, the wonderful new opportunity would never have presented itself.

Since success indeed leaves clues, it is also true that failure also leaves clues. This is a little different and more damaging to our self-esteem. In this scenario, we blame ourselves for some shortcomings that we think we have. If we didn’t have this flaw, we would have succeeded.  Instead of looking at failure as some form of “not being good enough” it is far more beneficial to let it be okay to fail because it provides such great information.

When we believe we are at fault we just keep trying harder to make it work. The harder we try, the more we don’t succeed. When failure can be seen from the point of view that something did not work as planned, then looking at what went wrong, changing it, or deciding to do something different leads us closer to what we desire.

Have you ever seen someone make the mistake repeatedly whether it is in business or their personal life? I am very focused on the idea that if you want to change something in your life, you need to think and act differently. However, that is not always as easy as it sounds. Each of us has a lot of negative thoughts and emotions that get in the way. If we don’t take the time to get a handle on our mental clutter, we keep looking at life through the same lenses.

The most important thing that I like people to realize is that with every thought you think and every action you take, you are creating your life. And with every choice, you are either making your life bigger or shrinking it. We all have times when we do that but so often we do it unconsciously and we are living a limited life.

I have had the opportunity to study people’s choices for many decades and the accumulation of these choices and it is clear to see how it has affected people’s lives either positively or negatively.

We have this idea that we have very little control over our lives and life happens as it does. This can be a life-limiting belief and what would happen if we challenged that thought?  Life situations happen to us that we have no control over but we always can control how we react to them, and deciding our next choices is how we will continue to move forward and be resilient to what life brings us.  My question in any situation is: what can I learn from this. This is a crucial question of whether you are learning from your success or your failure.

I understand that I am standing on the outside observing what I see in people. This unique perspective helps me to make observations that a persona can’t see for themselves. Beginning to question what we do and why will open the perspective to be able to see things in a new way.

One way to do this is to have someone who you can talk to that will give you honest feedback. The other way is to realize there are always two or more right answers to a problem. So instead of doing what you have always done, consider there might be another way that would be better.

Remember, we have way more power and choice in our lives than we use. Begin to imagine if you exercised your power of choice of thoughts and actions regularly, how might the quality of your life be different? Knowing success leaves clues, what if you purposefully set yourself up for success in your thoughts in actions?  What if you decided that you were going to learn from your mistakes and do something different…what then?

Spring Clean-Up for Your Soul

Spring is a time for renewal, cleaning up, and cleaning out. It is time to enjoy the crocuses and smell the lilacs while listening to the birds sing and basking in the sun of longer days.

As much as I love everything that comes with spring there is also work to be done. My yard, I realize needs more than a little bit of TLC to bring it back to life after the long winter. Besides the outdoor clean-up, we also wage war on the inside of the house cleaning every inch, including closets, all so we can declare that the spring cleaning is done.

With that in mind, I’m wondering how many of you give yourselves some TLC? Just like our physical space our emotional space needs cleaning up and clearing out. So, the question becomes, what do I want to let go of, what do I want to change and what do I want to explore or start?

You might wonder how to go about even knowing what needs looking at. I suggest that you look at the places in your life that cause you dis-ease. Where do you feel stress, what have you been unable to change that you have wanted to and what relationship either with yourself or others is not what you would like? Making changes no matter how small they seem can make a huge impact on your well-being.

Everything around us changes whether we want it to or not and that includes our perceptions. That is how something that seemed right a one point in our life no longer feels right. It’s because something has changed and now causes us to feel uneasy or uncomfortable.  When we are not at ease with things in our life then our soul is out of harmony as well.

In general, people have a hard time letting go of things and especially emotions. However, we know that when we decide to purge our houses of excess stuff it is like a breath of fresh air and newfound energy. Imagine what that would be like to let go of fears, thoughts and beliefs are that no longer serve us. We usually hang on to them because we don’t know what it would be like to not have them.

My granddaughter comes to visit us each year for several weeks. She lives in Florida, and they often go to the theme parks. There were only a few rides she would ride because she was very afraid. So, when she came to Minnesota, we planned activities with this in mind. On one of our outings to Como Zoo, we walked by the roller coaster. She asked if we could stop and watch which she did for a long time before announcing she wanted to go on it. As you can imagine I was hesitant but she insisted, so I finally agreed.  Long story short, she rode that coaster at least 8 times that day. When I asked her why she decided to ride it she said simply, “I decided I did not want to be afraid anymore”.

I was not only stunned at how profound this declaration was from her but also the truth of it. What if we told ourselves the truth and then made the change needed, how profound would that be? Overcoming her fear that day was life-changing for her. Letting go of this fear has opened doors that went beyond being able to ride the biggest rides at the theme parks. What doors might open for you if you let go of fear?

We can learn a lot from our kids on how to be authentic and in harmony with the world around us rather than in opposition to it. The things that cause us stress dampen our soul and take a bite out of our spirit. That’s why spring clean-up for your soul is so important. The longer you hold on to what no longer works in your life, the harder it is to make a change. But if we can be in charge of letting go regularly the things that no longer serve us the more peace and harmony we will have in our lives.

I would encourage you to make self-discovery a part of your life. To take time to regularly to ask yourself these basic questions: What do I want to let go of, what do I want to change and what do I want to explore or start? Don’t try to change everything at once, but to pick one thing and begin to take a step in that direction and do it consistently. What you do every day is far more important that what you do occasionally. Small consistent steps will have a big impact. Imagine the breath of fresh air, the spring in your step and the energy in your soul as you move forward with renewed strength and purpose.

 

 

 

 

How Are You Feeling About 2022?

I am asking you this question for a couple of reasons. This year more people looked forward to and were able to celebrate the holidays in a way that felt more like pre-pandemic. When it is over, we feel a holiday let-down that extends into January, the longest, coldest, and darkest month of the year. Many feel the effects of the long gloomy days. In addition, we are still feeling the stress of the pandemic. The stress of this will carry over into the new year unless we do something to change it.

The APA (American Psychological Association) reports that 84% of Americans report increased feelings emotions of anxiety, sadness, and anger, all signs of prolonged stress. This stress comes from all aspects of life and how we feel about what is going on in our world as well as what is going on in our personal lives.

The news has reported that people have been resigning from their jobs in record numbers to find jobs that allow for better work-life balance. The gift of the pandemic, if you can call it that, is that people had an opportunity to look at their lives and decide what they wanted.

Even when you know that you want to make a change, it can be hard to begin. In our busy world, we can get distracted, lack focus, or feel like we do not have the right mindset to achieve what we want most.

The most powerful resource you have is within you and it all begins with self-awareness. This is our ability to be able to observe what we are thinking and doing and connect them to our actions. An example of that would be when you find all the ways that you cannot do something, so you do not do it. Self-awareness is when you realize that those reasons are just you just getting in your own way. It is important to acknowledge what is standing in the way but also to realize you hold the power to move any obstacle that is put in front of you by taking one small step at t time.

This past Christmas, our 11-year-old granddaughter became afraid to fly, even though she had done it dozens of times before. She realized the plane could crash and that became the only thing she could think about. I helped her realize there was more than one thing that could be true at the same time. She knew planes were safe but also knew she was afraid they might crash. When we made it ok to be afraid and that planes were safe to fly in she was able to make a shift.   With that mantra, she began to realize that even though she was afraid she also realized how safe planes are to travel in. This is true for us too, we can be afraid and not know our next step but can move past fear and do it anyway.

The key to change is one small step at a time. Did you make a New Year’s resolution this year? The reason most resolutions fail is not that you do not have the willpower or skill to get it done, as we might believe about ourselves, but because the goal we made is unattainable in the time, we have given ourselves to do it. You probably have a lengthy list of things you would like to change about yourself, just do not do them all at once. Pick one thing that feels doable to you and then break it down into small parts that you can sustain over time. My morning inspirational time sets up the day for me, and it’s imperative that I do it every day. However, it was not always like that. I know I needed time to gather my thoughts and check in with myself at a time when I had zero time. I started with 5 minutes twice a week. Once I could do that, I gradually increased it week by week.  In this way, I was easing into making a change that could be sustained and building a new habit. It’s easy to think that new habits form easily but it takes intention, focus, and consistency to facilitate any change.

We are all constantly changing whether we like it or not. Since change is inevitable, we can either do it kicking and screaming or we can cooperate with what no longer works in our life and change it. But more than that, we have an innate sense within us that makes us want to be the best person that we can be for ourselves, our friends, family, and the community we are part of.  Growing and changing are not only about us. When we improve our integrity, become more tolerant of ourselves, grow our understanding and compassion for ourselves this extends out from us to others. This is the way that we can impact the world around us in a powerful way.

It is important to remember that all of us are seeking the same thing; kindness, understanding, respect, and unconditional love. The more we can give that to ourselves, the more we can offer it to others. You are the one who holds the key to what you want for your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cultivating Hope, Peace & Joy For Your Holidays

I have always loved the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City. The news showed them getting the tree in place and placing the star at the top. They talked about it as being a star that is filled with hope during this time of year. Besides living with hope there are at least two essential components of living life to the fullest; they are cultivating peace and joy. To foster this we must know that we can be flexible in what we do, what we say, and what we think; in other words, we hold the right to be able to change our minds and do things differently at a moment’s notice.

The second is that this knowledge is the foundation of the philosophy that every day presents us the opportunity to start over. I know this is not new to you, but we can get so set in our routines and rituals of how things need to be, that we forget that we have the ability to adapt and change. We cause ourselves much dis-ease when we are unwilling to bend.

The last few year’s has already presented us with challenge after challenge and now the cold weather and the holidays are approaching, we are facing new obstacles. As hard as this has been, we have also learned how to pare down our activities to those that are most essential and have learned how to stay connected with friends and family. However, because the Holidays are so rich with tradition and family gatherings many of us are wondering how we can remake the holiday to still feel joyful when nothing feels the same.

This year is certainly different than last year, but I think that if we can first spend some time reflecting and tending to our spirit, everything else will fall into place. Here are a few ideas to consider in making this holiday time filled with hope, peace, and joy.

We can rethink our holiday rituals to see if they still bring us comfort and joy or if they produce extra work that leads to exhaustion. Perhaps there is an easier way, or we can make it simpler, but just as meaningful.

  • Celebrate the Winter Solstice
  • At the end of the day create a ritual of asking yourself where you experienced hope, peace, or joy that day. The days are busy and filled with responsibilities and challenges and we often forget about the good. This will train your mind to begin to look for and relish the good when it happens.
  • Make a daily intention to invite joy into your life
  • Give yourself time to play and to do the things that make you happy.
  • Express gratitude regularly for the goodness that is in your life, including those who love and support you.
  • Choose to look at life with a sense of awe and the wonder of a child.
  • Connect regularly to the Spirit inside you that guides and informs your path.
  • Send blessings to anything that is causing you discomfort and refuse to carry any anger by taking steps to resolve it.
  • Show kindness to someone every day from until the new year.
  • Offer positive comments to yourself.
  • Take time to enjoy the quiet.
  • Expect the miraculous to happen.

Finding and fostering hope, peace, and joy within ourselves is one of the most important things we can do to live fully. When we honor this sacred process, it spills out to all we meet and this is the spirit of the holiday, whether we get to spend it with our families or not. Wishing you all the miracles of the season!

 

Giving and Receiving Grace

Just when it was beginning to look like the pandemic was over and we could see the light at the end of the tunnel; that light began to dim with the variants of Covid increasing the number of cases and we realized it was not over.

In my work as a life coach, I talk with people about how they are and how they are coping within a world that no one has experienced navigating. The more conversations I have, the more I realize that we are all still struggling in one way or another. It was better than a year ago but we can’t deny that we are forever changed and so is our world. People are quitting their jobs at an all-time high to re-evaluate how they make their living and how they are choosing to live. There is more unrest and violence in our world because I believe people don’t know how or don’t have the capacity to cope with the things going on around them. Every day I see the stress and anxiousness of people trying to navigate this new world we are in.

I don’t know where your struggles lie in your relationships or your own feelings of unrest,  but I do know that we have the ability to offer grace at every opportunity.

Webster’s defines grace as: “Unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification”. In other words, we act or speak in a way that is favorable and pleasant, bestowing an act of kindness on someone whether it is deserved or not.

In Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, we learn that “grace is a direct intervention on our behalf that circumvents the laws of nature -time, space, cause, and effect.” It is a spiritual intervention and a demonstration that here is a force greater than us, working on behalf of ourselves and others.

Grace is available to all, simply by asking for this day’s portion of grace and being willing to soften the lines between us and offer understanding and kindness to those we come in contact with.

In every action or interaction, we have a choice in how we can respond. We can either use that choice to defend ourselves or offer grace to the person or situation in front of us. It might be a simple gesture to smile or ask how someone is but if we get out of ourselves long enough to do that, we might make their day. Maybe it is extending empathy to a relationship we don’t understand or maybe agree with, but kindness offered can never hurt.

But what about the times that we need grace? This is a reciprocal exchange, if we offer it, we must be willing to receive it. It begins as being compassionate to ourselves when we fell short of our own expectations, forgiving our negative thinking, or being kind and gentle with our hearts.

We each can hold grace like a healing balm for our hearts as it opens the door that transforms our lives and relationships. Moving into a heart-centered way of allowing us to feel what we may not be able to see, to see ourselves as God sees us.

I would invite you to extend grace to yourself and someone else today. It is a gift to give and to receive. We each hold the key to peace and joy, use it to open doors to a grander vision for yourself and others than you ever imagined.

As we move into the busiest time of the year, I wish you magical and grace-filled days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Year In Review

It’s almost the end of the year and just like business owners close out the year, we can do that for our personal lives. It is helpful to have a resolution about things that happened in the past, decide what you would like in the future and then make a plan that will help you succeed.

This is online class is time for you to reflect on the past year, decide how you would like to move forward into the new year and together, create a plan that will help you be successful.

In this class you will:

  • Learn how to reflect on the last year with kindness and compassion.
  • Discover strategies to help you decide what you want going forward.
  • Make a plan to be successful.

Class Details:

Friday, December 10th at 10:00 – 11:30 AM (CST)

Zoom Online class

Investment: $25.00

To register email: sthibault12@msn.com and the best email to reach you.

I will send you the Zoom link and invoice to pay online when you register.

Hope to see you in the class and feel free to share or sign up with a friend.

A Thanksgiving Prayer for You!

May the light of our gratitude burn brightly in our hearts and in our world.
In the silence of our hearts, let each of us give thanks for all the many gifts that are ours.
Let us also be mindful of those today who are without food, family, or home.
Let us remember all whom we love who are not now present with us here: those who have gone before us, those in the present time, and those to be born whom we will love.
God of all good gifts, from your holy heart has come a flood of gifts upon us.
With uplifted hearts, we gather together to thank you with prayer and with the worship of feasting.
We are grateful not only for the gift of life itself, but for all the gifts of friendship, love, devotion, and forgiveness that we have shared.
May we give our thanks by lives of service, by deeds of hospitality, by kindness to strangers and by concern for one another.
We are most grateful this feast day for the way You, our God, are visible to us in one another, in countless daily gifts, in the marvels of creation.
We bless you oh God, for the blessings of our lives; and invite you to bless our table and all of the food of this feast that we share.
Sallie Latkovich, CSJ

Wishing You A Blessed Thanksgiving