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“Travel lightly my friends.  Give up your unconscious pain and habits; they weigh you down.  Accept your birthright to be joyous and free.” 

~ Anonymous

Everyone experiences cognitive distortions.  Not everyone knows they have them and of those that do acknowledge their existence, not many people do something to challenge their cognitive distortions.  Of those individuals that put in the effort and practice daily, the results changed their lives.  Experience a life change by using the exercises below to weaken your cognitive distortions.

Remember, these are not one-time “cures”.  It takes work to give up your pain and the habits that hold you back.  It’s not about giving something up as much as it is giving yourself something of greater value in return.

  1. Identify Your Cognitive Distortions – List your troublesome thoughts and match them with the list of cognitive distortions. This exercise allows you to see the distortions you favor and allows you to think about your problem, challenge or predicament in more natural, realistic ways.
  2. Examine the EvidenceExamining your experience thoroughly helps you identify the basis for your distorted thoughts.  Example:  If you are very self-critical, then you want to examine a number of experiences and situations where you experienced success.
  3. Double Standard Method – An alternative to harsh and demeaning self-talk is to talk to yourself in the same compassionate, understanding and caring way you would talk with another in a similar situation.
  4. Think in Shades of Gray – Rather than think about your problem or challenge in an either-or polarity, evaluate things on a scale of 0-100.  When a plan/goal isn’t fully realized, think about and evaluate the experience as a partial success, again, on a scale of 0-100.
  5. Survey Method – Seek the opinion of trusted friends or relatives regarding whether your thoughts and attitudes are realistic.
  6. Definitions –  What does it mean to define yourself as “a loser”, “inferior”, “a fool”, “stupid”, etc.?  Examining these and other global labels will likely reveal they more closely represent specific behaviors, or an identifiable behavior pattern instead of you as the total person.
  7. Re-attribution – Rather than automatically blaming yourself for problems and predicaments, identify external factors and other individuals that contributed to the problem/challenge.  Your energy is best utilized in the pursuit of resolutions or ways to cope.
  8. Cost-Benefit Analysis – List the advantages and disadvantages of your feelings, thoughts and/or behaviors.  The cost-benefit analysis will help you determine what you are gaining from feeling bad, distorted thinking, and inappropriate behavior.

Until next time…

P.S. — Want to learn more about Cognitive Distortions and how they may be impeding your progress and success?  Tired of being at the mercy of your distortions?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary discovery session or send an e-mail to info@JoshuaTreeCoaching.com to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

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“Our destiny changes with our thoughts; we shall become what we wish to become, do what we wish to do, when our habitual thoughts correspond with our desires.”

~ Orison Swett Marsden

Allow me to give you the definition of “elevate”.

elevate – \ˈe-lə-ˌvāt\ – verb

  1. To raise to a higher place or position; lift up.
  2. To increase the amplitude; intensity, or volume of.
  3. To promote to higher rank.
  4. To raise to a higher moral, cultural, or intellectual level.*
  5. To lift the spirits of; elate.

I believe the choice of the word “elevate” as a verb, to put into action, is in complete alignment with understanding your thought processes and what you will want to do differently in order to create new habits of mind, new habits of thought, for you to continue to have a life that is filled with unlimited opportunities and untold success.  Even in these challenging economic times – the challenge is in how you think and respond to what’s happening in the financial markets today.

What better place and time to begin than by discussing those mental thought processes that can be constructive and destructive.  Let’s take a look at one in particular, but before we do, please consider the following questions and what your first thought, first answer is:

  • What impact is the current economy (rapidly rising gas costs, steadily increasing food prices, etc.) having on you in your personal life, your career, your job, and/or business life?
  • What’s going to happen if it stays the same or gets even worse in the next month?  The next quarter?
  • What options have you considered?
  • Are you open to possibilities?
  • Did you answer one, or any, question with a worse-case scenario?  Perhaps even thinking to yourself, it’s never going to get better?
  • Do you have difficulty reading the newspapers or magazines because of all the bad news?
  • Do you find yourself constantly being drawn in to the negativity and drama?
  • Do you grimace and moan when you listen to or watch the news reports on radio or television?
  • Are you losing sleep because of the worry and fear?
  • Have you ever wished you could just tune it all out and forget what’s going on in the world?  In your life?
  • Ever just want to stay in bed and pull the covers over your head instead of jumping out of bed and embracing the day?

This destructive mental process is catastrophizing, or imagined catastrophe.  Catastrophizing can be an habitual thought and occurs when we create worse-case scenarios and obsessively worry, even tormenting ourselves, over events that may or may not ever come to pass.  Mired in this destructive thought process, it can become difficult to even believe there’s another way to look at your situation or circumstance.  And the possibility of even a hint of having a possible solution may be simply laughable, sending you into a further downward spiral of fear, worry, anxiety and stress.

  • While your so caught up in worry, fear, anxiety and stress – catastrophizing – how many opportunities do you miss?
  • How many moments with your family, friends, and co-workers do you let go by because of the worry and fear?
  • How many times have you unintentionally ignored your loved ones because of stress?
  • How difficult is it for you to meet work deadlines because of anxieties?
  • When you’re barely making the deadlines, what is happening to the quality of your work?

What if you knew you could “elevate your mind” by changing the way you think about things?  Not solely through positive thought – by incorporating positive action.  Instead of wanting to run and hide and complain about the economic state, or any “state”, ask yourself what YOU can do to change the way you’re feeling about the situation, reacting to every piece of news or information you hear or read.  What opportunities can you see for YOU?  Can this time be used to get back in touch with the things that you value?  Spending more time with your family?  Turning off the television, the video games, computers, iPodsPads, mobile phones?  Plan special nights with family and friends – an old-fashioned game night or a pot-luck-themed supper?

Positive action or catastrophizing – what will YOU choose?  Are your habits of thought in alignment with your desires?

Begin to elevate your mind by choosing positive action.

Here are 3 suggestions to get you started:

  • Call a friend you haven’t spoken with in a long time.
  • Write and mail those thank-you notes.
  • Clear your office of the clutter – simply start with a desk corner.

What others can YOU think of?

Until next time…

P.S. — Want to know more on how you can practice positive action in all situations?  Schedule your complimentary coaching session or send an e-mail to info@JoshuaTreeCoaching.com to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

P.P.S. —You’re welcome to share this article. When you do, include this complete blurb and the end of the article it:

“Would you like to learn more simple ways to bring more balance into your professional or personal life and create more money, time, and freedom  Check out my web site, http://www.JoshuaTreeCoaching.com and sign up to receive our regular publications, which include complimentary reports, resources and other helpful tools.”

“It’s never to late to be what you might have been.”

~ George Eliot

Until next time…

P.S. — Want to achieve something extraordinary?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary discovery session or send an e-mail to info@JoshuaTreeCoaching.com to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

The first full week in February is designated as International Coaching Week (ICW) and it’s a week-long global celebration designed for coaches and clients to educate others about the value of working with a professional coach (business, career, life, personal, development…and the list goes on) and to acknowledge the progress and results achieved through the coaching process.

I will be commemorating the event by participating in some pro bono activities throughout the week, of which you are the beneficiary!

Check back with the Roots of Thought blog often over the course of the week to take advantage of the great opportunities that will be presented.

To kick off the week, here are a few often asked questions about coaching:

  • What are the benefits of coaching?

Individuals who engage in a coaching partnership can expect to experience fresh perspectives on personal challenges and opportunities, enhanced thinking and decision making skills, enhanced interpersonal effectiveness, and increased confidence in carrying out their chosen work and life roles.

Consistent with a commitment to enhancing their personal effectiveness, they can also expect to see appreciable results in the areas of productivity, personal satisfaction with life and work, and the achievement of personally relevant goals.

  • What is the a coach’s responsibility in the coach-client relationship?

A coach should:

  • Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve;
  • Encourage client self-discovery;
  • Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies; and
  • Hold the client responsible and accountable.

Professional coaches provide an ongoing partnership designed to help clients produce fulfilling results in their personal and professional lives.  Ultimately, coaches help people improve their performances and enhance the quality of their lives.

Coaches are trained to listen, to observe and to customize their approach to individual client needs.  They seek to solicit solutions and strategies from the client; believing the client is naturally creative and resourceful.  The coach’s job is to provide support to enhance the skills, resources, and creativity that the client already has.

Coaching honors the client as the expert in his/her life and work and believes that every client is creative, resourceful, and whole.

Until next time…

P.S. — Want some assistance going from reflection to resolution?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary discovery session or send an e-mail to info@JoshuaTreeCoaching.com to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” – Andy Rooney

You’ve spent hours…days…weeks…and in some cases, months picking out the “perfect” gift.  You’ve given much thought to the gift wrap and adornments that will disguise the contents until the excitement of the moment takes over.

The mad ripping, the squeals of delight, bows and wrapping paper thrown into the air with abandon, a brief pause to admire the treasure found within and then on to the next neatly dressed gift until no more remain.

Anticipation!  Excitement!  Joy!

And all too quickly, the moment is over and we’re running to the next “thing” to do, without taking a moment to simply be in the moment.

When I read this quote this morning, it really touched a nerve..a nerve of long ago.  How often, those years ago, after all the paper lay strewn across the floor, ribbon and bows scattered about I ran around with a trash bag quickly picking up the “trash”, pushing the kids to get dressed and leave their excitement and joy behind (you’ll be able to get back to it later…which didn’t happen because it was time for bed when we finally got home) because we had a schedule.  We needed to be somewhere for lunch, or dinner, or a visit because there were traditions to uphold, people to see, things to do.

For just a moment I felt sad when I read Mr. Rooney’s words.  Sadness in all that I didn’t get to experience or allow my family to experience.  Of course, I can’t change it.  And I am so grateful that I finally woke up and realized how much we were all missing because of the self-limiting belief that things had to be “perfect” and “what would the in-laws think if we didn’t show up?” and learned how to enjoy the moments.

This year is yet another opportunity to slow down and savor the moments of the day, without rushing, hurrying or scurrying about.  A time to embrace the “mess” wherever it occurs – living room, dining room, kitchen, den, or basement – and all that it represents and …

to be.

It’s not too late – there’s still time for you to enjoy the glorious mess 🙂

Until next time…

P.S. — Struggling with how to enjoy more and stress less?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary discovery session or send an e-mail to info@JoshuaTreeCoaching.com to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

Washing a few plates and cups after lunch today, my mind began to wander (yes, I wasn’t focused on actually washing dishes…that’s another story) to all the Facebook postings about how sensitive everyone seems to be regarding the upcoming holidays and how to address or greet each other.  In rapid thought succession, it sounded something like this:

Thought Storm in Progress

Happy Holidays…Merry Christmas…Happy Chanukah…Holiday Songs…Christmas Carols…(I think I have the makings of a song)…sheesh…people expending so much energy over who’s right or wrong…how does making a big deal out of this add value?….if you don’t like something, what can you do rather than simply complain?…oh how I love the holidays…as long as I could remember the anticipation was thrilling…some might not see it that way – difficult childhood memories and all…wait I could be included in that last one…who cares…still love the holidays…Polar Express…hot chocolate, yum, think I’ll have a well-deserved cup later…people working so very hard to convince someone else they’re wrong….aha moment – maybe that’s it…wonder if people believe that taking time to understand someone else means giving up part of themselves or who they believe they are, their beliefs, drinking the kool-aid…they’re afraid…that’s not what happens at all…don’t they see that…duh! if they did they wouldn’t keep working so hard to convince someone they’re wrong…so…how can I influence them to see that they actually gain so much more when they strive to really understand another’s point of view; they don’t give up anything, not one single belief nor one strand of value by simply listening…what are they protecting?…what makes their belief more valuable than someone else’s?…oh, wait…maybe they’re having trouble giving their listening ears because they’ve not been heard…well, not in the way that matters (complaining and whining doesn’t much count towards that)…oh, gotta go capture this thought storm before it blows over…

There you have it, folks.  Now, all I’ve got to do is get cracking on the best way to begin this influential journey of understanding.  Oh, wait…I know…just start…:-)

BTW – I’m a Merry Christmas sort of gal.  And if you’re a Happy Chanukah sort of fellow or Happy Holidays kind of girl, or a non-Christmas or non-Chanukah believer, know that I respect and embrace YOU and your right to believe and value whatever you want or like.  We may not always agree or see eye-to-eye on this or any other event, and I’m OK with that.  Are you?

Care to join me and journey together…at least part of the way?

Until next time…

P.S. — Want a better understanding of how a coach can guide you to discover your untapped gifts and strengths and understand your thought storms?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary discovery session or send an e-mail to info@JoshuaTreeCoaching.com to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

Author Unknown

The 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coiffed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.

Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.

After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready.

As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window.  “I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

“Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room …. just wait.”

“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replied.

“Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time.  Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged, it’s how I arrange my mind.  I already decided to love it.  It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up.  I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.  Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away, just for this time in my life.”

She went on to explain, “Old age is like a bank account, you withdraw from what you’ve put in.  So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories.  Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank.  I am still depositing.”

And with a smile, she said:

“Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

  1. Free your heart from hatred.
  2. Free your mind from worries.
  3. Live simply.
  4. Give more.
  5. Expect less.”

Until next time…

P.S. — Want a better understanding of how a coach can guide you to discover your untapped gifts and strengths?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary discovery session or send an e-mail to info@JoshuaTreeCoaching.com to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

(From the national bestseller Who Moved My Cheese?)

The Handwriting on the Wall

Change Happens

They Keep Moving the Cheese

Anticipate Change

Get Ready for the Cheese to Move

Monitor Change

Smell the Cheese Often So You Know When It Is Getting Old

Adapt to Change Quickly

The Quicker You Let Go of Old Cheese, The Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese

Change

Move with the Cheese

Enjoy Change!

Savor the Adventure and the Taste of the New Cheese!

Be Ready to Quickly Change Again and Again

They Keep Moving the Cheese

What do you do when something unexpected occurs in your life?  In your business? In your job?  At your workplace?  Do you resist the change, perhaps even rebel against?  Do you pretend there is no change hoping it’s nothing but a bad dream?  Do you sit back and do nothing thinking the “cheese” will come back to you?  Do you embrace change?  Do you look for the “cheese”?  Are you willing to try a different type of “cheese”?

Of course, cheese is a metaphor for whatever you want to have in your life – a good job, a successful business, a loving relationship, spiritual peace of mind, money, less stress.

When you reach the point to where you can see The Handwriting on the Wall, you will begin to take whatever steps necessary to help you be more successful in your life and your work, however YOU define success.  What is holding you back; preventing you from having the successful life YOU desire?  Bad habits?  No habits?  Habits of thought?  Feeling stuck?

Be the Change – Define YOUR success; the things that YOU want to be different in your life and begin to take steps to prepare you for change.  And when you ask yourself “Who Moved My Cheese?” when things start to change, whether expected or unexpected, you will see “The Handwriting on the Wall” and be better equipped to adapt to the situation and enjoy something better!

Until next time…

P.S. — Want a better understanding of how a coach can guide you to discover your untapped gifts and strengths?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary discovery session or send an e-mail to info@JoshuaTreeCoaching.com to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

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