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“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”

~ Alexander Graham Bell

Expectations that you place on yourself or others can leave you feeling anxious and overwhelmed…at times leaving you feeling disappointed, exasperated or irritated.  You easily lose sight of the things that are important and when you leave what’s important for those Bright Shiny Objects (BSO’s), a.k.a. distractions of thought, emotions, interruptions or other “important” things, you can experience unnecessary worry, anxiousness, helplessness and fear.

Whether it’s shopping for last minute vacation items, getting your budget in place, deciding what event and activities to attend, financial concerns, working feverishly to meet your business quarter-end deadlines, or wanting to spend more time with loved ones, family and friends during this time of the year, all of these activities require grounded focus.

Here are 7 positive actions you can take right now to gain or maintain grounded focus:

  1. Schedule your work (work can be defined in many ways, not simply job related) and honor your schedule;
  2. Break down the large, complex tasks into “doable chewables”, a series of smaller steps;
  3. Slow down to accomplish more;
  4. Say “no” to things of lesser importance;
  5. Say “yes” to the things you really want to do and enjoy;
  6. Delegate tasks; and finally,
  7. Take five minutes once a day and focus on you – take a walk; enjoy that great cup of coffee, tea or hot cocoa; step outside and just breathe; turn off all electronics and enjoy the silence…

When you’re consciously focusing on the things that matter to you – one at a time – your stress is reduced and you experience grounded focus.

Until next time…

P.S. — Want to learn more about how to find your “Grounded Focus”?  Tired of being at the mercy of your BSO’s?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary discovery session or send an e-mail to to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

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“When your fear touches someones’ pain,
it becomes pity; when your love touches
someones’ pain, it becomes compassion. 
To train in compassion, then, is to know all
beings are the same and suffer in
similar ways, to honor all those who
suffer, and to know you are neither separate
from nor superior to anyone.” 

~ Stephen Levine

Here’s a quick review of what we talked about in Part 2 of “What Were YOu Thinking?”  You learned about Jumping to Conclusions, Emotional Reasoning, Shoulds, Labeling, and Blame.

In Part 3, here are the final 5 Cognitive Distortions (again, in no particular order)…or “What Were You Thinking?!”

5 Cognitive Distortions (Part 3)

  1. Control Fallaciesseeing ourselves as a victim (external control fallacy) or assuming the responsibility for the pain and happiness of everyone around us (internal control fallacy).
  2. Discounting the Positivediscounting your achievements or insisting your positive actions, achievements or qualities don’t count; saying anyone could’ve done it..
  3. Fairness Fallacygoing through life applying a measuring rod against every situation judging its fairness; feeling resentful because we thing we know what is fair but others won’t agree with us.
  4. Always Being Right feeling continually on trial to prove that your opinions and actions are correct (or pointing out how wrong someone’s opinions and actions are).  Being wrong is unthinkable going to any length to demonstrate your “rightness”.
  5. Heaven’s Reward Fallacyexpecting your sacrifice and self-denial to pay off, then feeling bitter when the reward doesn’t come.

What have you discovered?  What distortions do you recognize in yourself?  Where do you want to begin making changes?

You’ll have an opportunity in the next post to find out more about what you can do about your “stinkin’ thinkin” and improve your rate of success – however YOU define success.

To be continued…

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 to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

In Part 1, we looked at 5 Cognitive Distortions:  Filtering, Polarized Thinking, Over-generalization, Catastrophizing and Personalization.  What have you discovered about you and your cognitive distortions?  What, if any, resonate with you so far?

Let’s take a look at 5 more Cognitive Distortions (in no particular order or sequence).  Remember, although your thinking can affect your emotions, behaviors, actions, habits and decisions, your thinking doesn’t have to define who you are.  You can change the way you think and your thought awareness is the first step.

 5 Cognitive Distortions (Part 2)

  1. Jumping to Conclusions– making assumptions with little or no evidence to back it up.
    1. Fortune Telling – making negative predictions based on assumptions about what the future will hold.
    2. Mind Reading – making negative assumptions based about how people see you or feel about you, without factual information.
  2. Emotional Reasoning“I feel, therefore, I am.”  In other words, assuming that a feeling you have reflects the way things really are.
  3. Shoulds – having adamant rules and/or beliefs about your’s and other’s behaviors, which leads to criticism of yourself or others.  That criticism can lead to feelings of guilt, resentment, anger and/or frustration. Listen to your words when you talk about yourself or others.  Are you using words such as should, must, have to, ought to, need to?
  4. Labeling (Mislabeling)generalizing one or two qualities into a negative global, or sweeping, judgment.  The most common example of labeling is, “I didn’t share my ideas on the project.  I’m such a loser!”  A common example of mislabeling is, “She’s such a jerk!   She never stopped for that stop sign.”
  5. Blame (Personalization)holding other people responsible for your pain.  Some examples, “Stop making me feel bad about myself.” “I lost all my money at the casino because he talked me into playing poker.”

What’s jumping out at you?  Where do you want to begin making changes?

As a reminder, at the end of the series, you’ll have an opportunity to find out more about what you can do about your “stinkin’ thinkin” and improve your rate of success – however YOU define success.

To be continued…

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 to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

As the year speeds to its end, we begin to mentally prepare for next year.  But don’t forget to take time to assess your personal and professional challenges and accomplishments THIS year.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What have I accomplished this year?  Be specific. Write it all down. Schedule some time to celebrate this!
  2. What have I learned this year?  What skills did you pick up? What emotional lessons?
  3. What got in my way?  This is where your work will be next year.  Be honest if it was your own self that got in the way.
  4. What are my immediate next steps to achieve these goals?
  5. What did I learn from those things that didn’t go as I expected this year?  When you take the time to absorb the lessons that the events in our lives come to teach us, you will not repeat the same mistakes repeatedly.
  6. What am I grateful for this year?  Make a list of at least 100 things that you are grateful for and watch more good things start coming into your life.
  7. On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied am I with how I spent the year?  Why?
  8. What do I want to accomplish next year, such that it’s my best year ever?
  9. What does it take to make me feel a 10/10 satisfaction level at the end of next year?
  10. What new habits do I want to cultivate that will help me achieve my goals in 2012?

When you take the time to answer these questions thoughtfully, you are taking the time to invest in yourself and your success.  Remember that ‘why’ that motivates you and use it to push you beyond the obstacles that will always pop up in your path.  True success is found only when you are willing to keep getting up after every setback.

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning, but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.” ~ Hal Borland

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 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 to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

What a most amazing start to my day this morning.  Up bright and early at my normal time – 5:30 a.m  Only today was going to be quite different.  So much so, tossing and turning was the theme for the night.  I was just too excited to sleep!  The anticipation of what the morning would hold, the promise of what could happen as I awaited the start of another journey.

Now here’s where you might start to wonder where I was headed.  Disney?  No.  Caribbean?  No.  Visiting the kids?  No.  (Just returned from a visit to CO with my daughter and her family).  It was not any of these and probably nothing what you’d expect as you continue reading.

What was I excited about?  It was about the new goal I set for myself and today was the day I took my first step…literally…my first step in running.

Now, I’m not a runner – never was and never claimed to be.  Runners of any type, shape or kind have my great admiration for what they do – whether they love it or hate it – and all their various reasons for running.

My goal isn’t to simply run.  Nope, not this girl!  The bigger goal is really to have better relationships with the people in my life that are important to me by doing or experiencing the things they like to do.  So, my daughter runs, rock climbs, bikes, and hikes fourteeners (Rocky Mountain peeks that are 14,000 ft) and I want to do some of that with her.  And in order for any of that to happen, I’ve got to begin today, one step at a time, to reach my goal of running 2 miles  with my daughter and granddaughter by this time 6 months from now.  Because nothing would be more meaningful than to run with both of them – just the girls – each filled with excitement of what we’ve accomplished and what we have yet to overcome and accomplish.

Today I took my first step toward that goal.  Although to some it might seem like such a small accomplishment, for me it was a great fete.  And here’s what I learned – I can get excited about getting out of my comfort zone when I focus on the value of the task / chore / goal /whatever-you-want-to-call-it.  I chose to be excited about something that is going to require me to do some hard work (no matter where I run in my neighborhood, most of it will be uphill).  Yet, that is not going to deter me from my goal.  Quite feeling like a kid at Christmas is all the motivation needed.

So, how far did I run this morning?  Not far by a marathoner’s or runner’s standards – .5 mile.  Yet, it’s cause for celebration because I did it!  I wasn’t running by their standards or worried about what any passersby would think.  I took action.  I can do anything in small steps – doable chewables – and stick to my plan.  I know that I won’t run 2 miles the next time I’m out the door at 5:30 a.m.  I do know that I will run 2 miles in 6 months continuing to work my plan – focused, motivated, and excited!

Finding the “key” to what the added value to my life and those around me made all the difference in how the goal / challenge / task was approached.  The truth is, it’s not about the running, it’s about the opportunity to connect and develop a relationship.  In the end, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Until next time…

It’s Tuesday evening and I came back into the office to catch up on some boring, mundane and very necessary and fulfilling work that is often involved in business. Just before sitting down at the computer, I decided to glance through this month’s issue (September 2009) of Success Magazine. Imagine my surprise when on the front cover I discovered Og Mandino was one of the featured articles!

I quickly turned to page 66 of the issue to read all about Og (like I was reading the words for the very first time). I was greeted with “I Will Act Now.” in big, bold, orange, and black lettering and I thought, “Is that powerful, or what?!” Coincidence that I was seeing in the boldest print “I Will Act Now” facing the routine stuff I was going to do? No. I firmly believe all things happen for a reason.

Could it get any better than that?

I thought not…

Would you believe it could? On the next page, 67, was Og’s picture with a captioned quote from Scroll IX, “Success will not wait. If I delay, she will become betrothed to another and lost to me forever. This is the time. This is the place. I am the man.” (OK for me it’s I am the woman – you get the point.)

It took me a while to contain my excitement, or should I say reign it in. I was ready to run up and down the street proclaiming how great Og is, when I realized I do just that, very quietly, as part of my everyday life. More than that – I am practicing every day to live the principles that Og wrote, taught, and lived himself.

You see, it’s more than an article and a picture for me. It’s my way of life. Am I there yet? Certainly not. Will I ever get there? I don’t know – I hope to – someday. What I do know is that I’ve got some work to do. I do know by living and breathing the Scrolls, by becoming a product of the process, I improve my life, reach the success that was meant for me and I get to help others do the same – in teaching them, coaching them, guiding them to be the very best they were meant to be.

What I do know, with certainty, is that by acting now, at this moment, I put into motion all the positive action that will “nourish my success”.

To read the article, go to

Would you like to chat about Og? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Until next time…

Back to the office a week now after vacation where we spent an amazing week with family and friends.  We stayed at a beautiful beach home on Atlantic Avenue in Kure Beach, NC located right on the beach!

Incredible sunsets and sunrises, dolphins passing directly in front of us as we swam and played in the ocean, and early morning walks on the beach were the catalysts to some mind-quieting and recognizing the desire to ground myself, once again.

I was surprised to find that I asked myself quite a lot of questions while getting grounded and was so pleased to find a poem that I came across several months ago that really resonated with me after I came home.

Have patience with everything that

remains unsolved in your heart,

Try to love the questions themselves…

At present you need to live the questions.

Perhaps you will gradually, without ever noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer.”

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Until next time…

Welcome to Roots of Thought, Joshua Tree Coaching & Consulting, LLC’s new blog, and Thought Buds, a brief inspirational message to keep you going between newsletters and blogs.

Hope you will make this an interactive event. We welcome your comments and thoughts.

Yours in Service,
Catherine McAnally, CSAC, SACA, CHDM
Joshua Tree Coaching & Consulting, LLC

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