The Struggle Is Real

The Struggle Is Real

Feeling Depleted? 

Hell yeah! We have been operating under some pretty heavy energy lately. Now, almost 8 months into a global pandemic where the “new normal” is indefinite uncertainty, we are no longer in an emergency phase but rather living in a chronic state of heightened stress. Of course we’re feeling depleted, much of what grounded us no longer exists, we are grieving multiple loses while still managing the ongoing impact all of this is having on every single aspect of our lives.

So how do we adjust to this ever-changing situation where so many of our systems aren’t working as they normally do, creating radical shifts in our work, school, and home life? Unfortunately, there is no handbook on this one, nothing in history comes close to its impact.  Sure there have been horrific events in history showing how very resilient we humans are but 2020 is an unprecedented disaster. It’s unique, magnified with 24-7  news coverage and intense political division in our country, complicating a unified approach on how to best navigate this unchartered path.

As a women’s leadership coach, naturally I’m asked for advice and suggestions on how to ease the angst we are all experiencing. I wish I had a direct answer but the truth is I’m just figuring it out myself. Of course, there are some sure fire ways to combat worry, lessen anxiety, face our fears but in this instance if I had to specifically hone in on where to focus our attention it would primarily be on our self-care and sincere acceptance of our reality. Rather then putting on a brave face, I think it would serve us all better to embrace how “shaky” we truly are feeling, allowing us to support ourselves in a way that is more constructive instead of exhausting our energy on trying to avoid the uncomfortability that surrounds us right now. While in addition seeking activities, new and old, that fill us up…practicing extreme self-care (sleep, nutrition, exercise, meditation, gratitude, and connection) and self love & compassion. I believe there is a way to simultaneously attend to our grief while also move forward proactively, gaining a greater appreciation of life and surpassing our capabilities that were present before this crisis hit us all.

My advice…resist the urge to suck it up, the struggle is real! Put YOUR oxygen mask on first so you can go the distance and still be of service to others.

Wishing You The Best Of Success

-Holly- 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fake It Till We Make It??

Fake It Till We Make It??

The Science Behind “Acting As If”

Not to be confused with being disingenuous or sweeping our feelings under the rug…the popular expression “Fake It Till You Make” can actually be a valuable coping tool when the going gets tough. As hard as this is to believe, there is plenty of science proving we can actually trick ourselves into becoming more successful, increase our happiness, and become more confident. Researchers have found that “acting” a certain way allows our brains to “rehearse” a new way of thinking and can set off a favorable chain of events. So the next time you find yourself second guessing taking on that demanding work assignment, nervous about initiating a social gathering, unenthused about your evening plans, or simply feeling gloomy and uninspired, check out these go to practices to manage the challenge at hand.

 

  1.  Smile– Literally say CHEEESEE, force a smile. Evidence suggests your face, sends signals to your brain, informing it that you are experiencing a particular emotion and leading you to believe it. Smiling can trick the body into helping you elevate your mood because the physical act of smiling actually activates neural messaging in your brain. A simple smile can trigger the release of neural communication boosting neuropeptides as well as mood-boosting neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. It’s hard to argue with the expression…when you smile the whole wold smiles with you- smiling is contagious, starting a friendship, dissolving arguments, and spreading positivity.  

2. Strike a powerful pose– When we are feeling powerless, ineffective or unsure of ourselves, we tend to make our bodies as small as possible. We hunch our shoulders, cross our legs, bow our heads and use self-protective gestures. Conversely, when we feel powerful and dominant, our bodies tend to adopt an expansive pose. We spread our arms, sit or stand straight and widen the position of our arms and legs.   

Well known Harvard Business School social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, shared her findings  how adopting a powerful posture can affect our body chemistry. In her study, she had subjects adopt either a power stance—with their chest and head lifted and arms propped on their hips—or a meeker pose—hunched over with their arms crossed—for two minutes. The people who maintained power poses showed a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol and an increase in testosterone, a hormone related to dominance and confidence. These changes in hormone levels appear to positively influence a person’s behaviors – increasing confidence and performance in situations that are stressful or uncomfortable. 

Making power posing an integral part of our preparation for the important events of our life may actually help us achieve more. When we feel confident and powerful, we are more able to express ourselves and influence others. Using power posing may just give us that little extra edge we need. 

3. Act as if-Want to be more confident, optimistic, sociable, calm, healthy or fit,…act as if. When we act as if, we put into place those practices that support desirable states of being. It is through this practice, repetition of action steps, that then allows us to become more of what we want to be. So start aligning, spring into action-circulate at work events, dance at a party, feed your body as healthy person feeds herself, dress the part, embody calm and act confidently. Just start doing it! The more we rehearse something the better we will become at it and then the more natural it will feel.

 As anyone who knows me well will tell you, I’d never advocate being inauthentic or phony, nor lye to others about our competencies. “Acting As If” only works when we correctly identify something within ourselves that’s holding us back. It is both a mindset and action oriented tool assisting us in creating more of what we want in and for our lives, not meant to be a substitute for obtaining the knowledge and support we need to become a better version of ourselves.  

Wishing You Alway The Best Of Success 

-Holly-

 

 

So Here’s The Thing…

So Here’s The Thing…

There Really Are No More Excuses!

In the past decade, exciting stuff has been happening in my industry. Ground-breaking research has proven we can we can undoubtably train our brains for greater success & happiness. It’s called neuroplasticity. It’s a term used describing the process by which new neural connections form and take place in our brains in response to incoming stimuli.

You see in the past, most scientist believed that the adult brain was hard-wired and set in its ways. But as it turns out, this isn’t true, our brains are actually constantly being reshaped everyday by our daily thoughts, behaviors, and experiences. Neuroplasicity changes everything, literally and figuratively, opening up  the possibilities that no matter how old or how much “baggage” you carry, everyone can break free of their limiting thoughts and fears to overcome negativity, improve their health, reach personal goals, and super-charge their thinking to strengthen and grow the person they are at any age. 

There is one caveat though, the extent to which our brain’s ability will reshape our lives for the better will be highly dependent on how invested we are in promoting neuroplasticity and how we approach life in general. But make no mistake, there are no more excuses, neuroscience confirms there are a wide range of tactics proven to be altering our brain chemistry.

From simple self-calming techniques to fundamental lifestyle and perspective shifts, positive change will occur within in our brains and then in within our lives with a strong commitment to consistent and conscious action steps that promote an optimal state of being.  It’s no mystery that the things we repeatedly do are the things our brain and mind will continue to support and encourage. The key to cultivating positive habits, thoughts, or behaviors that make lasting changes in our brains for greater wellbeing in our lives is through practice and consistency. The more something is rehearsed, the stronger our neural connections will then become. Change is a process not an event!

But don’t take my word for it, for the sake of this newsletter, I encourage you to explore for yourself these new lines of research that are revolutionizing how we CAN create the change we want in and for our lives. Knowledge is power, and our ability to understand the way our brain operates can give us a definite edge in our efforts to live a healthy and happy life. 

 Wishing You Always The Best Of Success 

 –Holly-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happiness Simplified

Happiness Simplified

Discover The Four Pillars To Wellbeing

Plan and simple, happiness is not a goal to be achieved rather it comes as a result of engaging in multiple, varied things that are meaningful and bring pleasure as a side-effect. Yet many of us tend to focus on snapshots of isolated parts of our lives and buy into the belief that if we can just find that perfect job, relationship, diet/fitness routine, this thing we call life will be a cinch to live. However, study after studies show that despite people initially experiencing a spike in their levels of wellness after obtaining things like financial prosperity, professional /educational achievements, loving relationships, or improved health-with time inevitably fall back to their original happiness baselines. And in some cases, people can even fall below their baselines feeling more defeated. Understandably, it can be disheartening to discover after working really hard and checking all the boxes to attain all those things believed would guarantee happiness is only fleeting. 

Truth is, safe guarding our level of fulfillment in one aspect of our lives will not secure our happiness nor prevent us from experiencing human highs and lows. To bring about sustainable wellbeing we need to build our overall resilience by attending to our whole self; body, mind, heart, and spirit. Sure, focusing on any one of these variables can make a difference but by attending to all four we will thrive. Moreover, when life throws us a curve ball-which inevitably it will because no one is excuse from life’s trial and tribulations-you will have an abundance of resources to tap into, enabling you to bounce back with greater ease. 

Below you’ll find a brief outline on each of the four pillars to wellbeing, coming this fall I’ll be doing a deeper dive for those interested in learning more about how to thrive rather then just get by. The program is called, Live To Thrive…The Science of Happiness Simplified, it will be a 9 week online, live, interactive course (calls will be recorded, should you be unable to attend) where participants will receive a ton of research based knowledge, tools, and strategies along with personal support to guide them in accessing not only experiencing higher levels of happiness but sustaining it for the long run. 

The 4 Pillars To Wellbeing

  • BODY- Let’s face it, when we are feeling physically strong, we have the best chance of experiencing the energy we need to complete the tasks and goals that are important to us. I start with attending to our body first because typically it is more easily assessed. We can see and feel how vibrant or drained someone is. We can hear it in people’s voices, postures, and faces. We can even measure it with medical devices. But remember we are all built differently, so there isn’t a single formula that works for everyone. What foods are most nourishing for you? What kind of movement works best for your body? How much sleep is optimal for your performance? Are you staying hydrated? Would your body benefit from supplements or vitamins? What, if any chronic or temporary illnesses/injuries do you need to consider in order to best support yourself.
  • MIND- This includes not only expanding our intellect but also training our thoughts to work for us. Attending to our mind is twofold, engaging in learning that is stimulating yet not daunting, enabling a cycle of constant growth. While keeping in mind (no pun intended) that our thoughts will have a way of getting the best of us, interfering with our ability to be present in the moment, wreaking havoc on our confidence, clarity, attention, and focus. Creating daily habits to expand this awareness (i.e  quality learning, meditation, journaling, single-tasking, self-introspection, etc) will clear the way for our minds to function optimally. 
  • SPIRIT- “He who has a why in life can bare almost any how”- Friedrich Nietzsche.Our spirit is what guides us to become fully ourselves and to live a meaningful life. In other words, it’s about connecting what we do and how we do it with who we truly are. What would you like to be remembered for? What drives you? What lights you up? What makes you unique? What things do you most want out of life? How can you share your strengths with the world? We must first accept that we all have this deeper inner side of ourselves and then find time to listen to it. Moreover, honor and then align in accordance with these inner urgings.  
  • Heart- Cultivate an open heart by practicing gratitude for the good things in your life, love and compassion for yourself, connection and kindness toward others. Remembering all feelings are legitimate and finely tuning in and accepting our full range of emotions can be used as tools to help us understand what’s going on for us in any given moment, enabling us to create greater wellbeing. 

Bottomline, we will have a much greater capacity to flourish and grow, to endure life’s challenges and stressors when we attend to our whole selves…Body, Mind, Heart, and Spirit.  

Wishing You Always The Best Of Success

 -Holly-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeing Is Believing

Seeing Is Believing

Powerful Benefits Of Vision Boarding 

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking “vision board”, really?! Or at least that’s what I thought when I was asked to do one in a most recent self-development coaching program I participated in a few weeks ago. Yep, the coach gets coached…always trying to walk the talk. But when the facilitator suggested doing a vision board, boy oh boy did I have resistance. I thought to myself, she’s got to be kidding me, how do you ask people in the middle of a pandemic, having no certainty as to what the future will bring, to do a vision board? Yet, in the spirit of embracing my willingness to take this crazy time of our lives and leverage it for the good, I pushed through and began my quest in collecting words, images, and photos that embodied a vision that has now stoked a fire within me, crystallizing goals and direction that has me excited even during these unsettling times.

Visioning as a whole is a well revered coaching strategy used to assist clients in actualizing their hopes, dreams, and desires. According to research, brain imagery works because neurons in our brains transmit information and interpret imagery as equivalent to a real-life action. When we visualize an act, the brain generates an impulse that creates a new neural pathway – clusters of cells in our brain that work together to create memories or learned behaviors – that primes our body to act in a way consistent to what we imagined. All of this occurs without actually performing the physical activity, yet it achieves a similar result. And then there is the law of attraction, stating that by seeing in your minds eye what it is you want in and for your life as well as feel the feelings of having those things, will attract opportunities to you that will then bring those things forward.

Of course visualization does not guarantee our greater success and happiness as that will only come as a result of hard work, practice, and a commitment to align daily with those action steps that support our desired outcomes. But when combined with diligent effort and, I would add, a strong support network, it is a powerful way to achieve positive, behavioral change and create the life you desire.

Besides, now with most of us still having some extra time on our hands, what do we have to lose with taking some time to clarify those future experiences that will bring meaning and fulfillment into our lives. Taking a look at last month’s blog post where I shared the Wheel of Life and Core Values Clarification exercises, think about those aspects of your life you may want to start focusing on more and imagine it is some point in the future (perhaps a year or more) and you are living your ideal life. 

Ask yourself…

1st: How do your days start? Where are you? What are you doing? What is different (or maybe not) about how you ideally begin your days?

2nd: Now moving into your day’s activities, where are you going, what are you doing, and more importantly how do you feel?

If you are working– Describe your work environment. How does your space look? What kind of work are you doing? What skills, strengths, talents are you using? What are you learning? What do you spend most of your time on? What is energizing and fulfilling about your work? How is it different from your current reality? Who are you working with? What are those relationships like?

If you’re not working- Describe how you are spending your days. Where are you? What are the components of your day? What gifts and talents are you using? Who are you encountering? What experiences are you having? What are you learning or exploring? What makes you feel good about yourself and your life?

3rd: As you end the day, describe your routine. How do you wind down? How do you transition from your day activities into the end-of-the day routine? Who are you with? What is pleasant and important? Where do you spend time at the end of the day? What routine or practices have you implemented to ensure this part of your day goes as you wish? What is different about how you end your day compared to your current reality?

4th: Before you retire for the day, look back on the day with gratitude and appreciation. Consider what may you be particularly grateful for? What is filling your life with satisfaction, joy, and ease? Who are the people that are making a positive impact on your life? How are you positively affecting others’ lives? How has the quality of your life improved?

Let these answers inform and inspire you, make yourself a cup of tea or pour yourself a glass of wine and start gathering images and pictures that represent your vision for your life or simply just an area of your life. You’ll need a piece of poster board, scissors, glue/tape, magazines or other sources of words and pictures, possibly markers or any other decorative art supplies. It may be easier to create your vision board over the course of a couple of days where you first collect images you’ll want to include and then settling down to arrange them on the board.

Once you complete the vision board be sure to find a space for it where you can look at it often. It’s from there when we can then start creating goals that not only have extrinsic value (i.e. fame, fortune, power, and love) but most importantly intrinsic; identifying goals that are consistent with who we are, what lights us up, and coming from a place of choice. And studies do support that when we exert effort pursuing goals that are close to our heart, we lock in with more conviction to see them through as well as enjoy the journey of its pursuit and moreover complete satisfaction of its attainment.

Love to see your vision board creations…

Wishing You The Best Of Success

-Holly-