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“Love is a binding force, by which another is joined to me and cherished as myself.” ~ Thomas Aquinas

Originally posted February 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day to YOU!Valentine Kitten

While most people think this day is strictly for those in a romantic relationship (and yes, that was and is the intent), it doesn’t have to be that way.  When we take a moment to ponder on the meaning of this day, it’s really about all our relationships and what makes those relationships good, great or not so good or great.

Have you ever equated the size of the gift or the number of flowers or the grand dinner and lavish desserts you give or receive with the amount of love given and received…or expected?  If you have, you’re not alone…I’ve fallen into this trap, too.  And it can leave one feeling deflated, disappointed or, dare I say it…not loved enough.

Today, spend a few moments away from the flowers and the chocolate and the surf n’ turf dinners and think about all those in your life where you want to be an active participant in that relationship – spouses, partners, parents, siblings, grandparents, children, grandchildren, friends, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, co-workers, acquaintances… and make those relationships better.

Here are 3 things that will help strengthen all your relationships:

  1. Communicate – Listen openly, without judgment or defensiveness.  Ask clarifying questions so you better understand the other person.  Be willing to lovingly share your thoughts and feelings, too.
  2. Respect – Honor those in your life for who they are, not what you want or wish them to be.
  3. Trust – Courageously be open, loyal and committed.  Do what you say you’re going to do and do so consistently.

Off to work on my own relationships….

May your Valentine’s Day be filled with love, light, joy and happiness!

Until next time…

P.S. — Want a better understanding of how a coach can help you improve your personal and / or business relationships?  Schedule your private, confidential complimentary coaching 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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“I have a woman’s body and a child’s emotion.”

` Elizabeth Taylor

It was a week of highs and lows, ups and downs, twists and turns, offs and ons, forwards and backwards, shouting and silence, happiness and sadness, pushing and pulling, temper tantrums, jubilation and it’s still not the end of the week!

In short, it was a week of so many emotions, it was as though something came along and just kicked me out of sorts…more accurately, kicked me out of myself.  It took a while to figure out what was happening and then I realized my upstairs roommates, those voices in my head, were having all sorts of parties and fun at my expense.  Or so they thought…

As a mentor, executive coach, human performance developer, whatever label you want to throw on there, one would think, “You should know better!”  And you’d be right.  The thing is, we’re all human – even coaches, healers, and holistic practitioners.  We all have our faults, our internal struggles, emotional upheavals and just when you think you’ve got it under control, those upstairs roommates will show you just how much more work needs to be done before you find the proper tenants to lease space.

Most often, it’s easier to simply put up with all the noise upstairs and hope they’ll turn down the volume sooner rather than later.  The thing is, the more you let them go and do what they want, the harder it is to face them, and yourself.  Sooner or later, those dang raucous roommates are going to spread the noise where you really don’t want it to go…spilling out and spewing poison to those that matter most to you.

And that’s EXACTLY what happened to me this this week and WHY I’m writing about it.  You see, nothing “bad” happened…well mostly nothing “bad” happened (that’s another post for a different day), except that my attention was not where I wanted it to be.  An internal struggle was taking place that, at one point, almost consumed an entire day or three.  I fought with all I had to stay in the place I knew best – the place of love, compassion and understanding.  But, you guessed it, the upstairs tenants had different ideas.  I read and re-read books, passages, reminders, notes and quotes all in an effort to help me reign myself in.  Nothing worked, until…

I began scanning through a meditation book, 365 Yoga daily meditations, when my eyes were drawn (or should I say jerked) to a particular meditation almost immediately.  It was mediation #177.  There it was…the words that would have a profound impact such that the upstairs roommates left immediately.  What were the words that made the difference?  Keep reading.

“Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you.

And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls.

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even

in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek

not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries

with yesterday.”

~ Khalil Gibran

And so I let go.

I remembered to breathe.

I took a wonderfully deep cleansing breath and let all the annoyances, thoughts, judgments, assumptions, and negativity leave with the exhale.

And then I took a nap.

Until next time…

Yours in Service and Growth,

P.S. — Want to let go and live in to your values?   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.

You’re welcome to share this article.  When you do, include this complete blurb with it:

 “Would you like to learn more simple, effective 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.”

Joshua Tree Coaching & Consulting, LLC │ ©2012 and Beyond.  All rights reserved worldwide │ http://www.JoshuaTreeCoaching.com

“For every disciplined effort there is a multiple reward.”

~ Jim Rohn

How often do you have “one of those days”?  You know…the days where you have difficulty concentrating, distractions are the priority of the day, your focus is a very faint, distant memory and your “to do” list is longer and more complicated than an 8th grade science project.

It’s at just these times you’ll want to engage the 3D Approach.  Simply, Diligence, Determination and Discipline.  These characteristics may not be “simple” to develop and maintain, for most of us.  Yet, when you have just a little bit of diligence and discipline driven by determination, your day will progress that much better.  And the more you practice the 3D’s, the more you get accomplished and the better your day will go.

When you approach your life (business, job, career, relationships, recruiting, planning, etc.) with the 3D attitude, there will be few goals that lie beyond your reach.  Distractions constantly threaten to derail progress; however, discipline enables you to focus amid disruptions and distractions.  You get to choose where to place your focus, the important job at hand or the distraction (aka BSO’s – Bright Shiny Objects).  The determination you get from discipline also gives you the courage and unshakable enthusiasm that allows you to perceive BSO’s (roadblocks, detours, distractions, whatever you want to call it) as a challenge to attack with enthusiasm.

Until next time…

P.S. — Want to learn more about how to engage the 3D Approach?  Tired of being at the mercy of your BSO’s?  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.

You’re welcome to share this article.  When you do, include this complete blurb with it:

 “Would you like to learn more simple, effective 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.”

Joshua Tree Coaching & Consulting, LLC │ ©2012 and Beyond.  All rights reserved worldwide │ http://www.JoshuaTreeCoaching.com

“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 info@JoshuaTreeCoaching.com to learn how.  Invest 30 minutes today to change your life forever.

You’re welcome to share this article.  When you do, include this complete blurb with it:

 “Would you like to learn more simple, effecetive 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.”

Joshua Tree Coaching & Consulting, LLC │ ©2012 and Beyond.  All rights reserved worldwide │ http://www.JoshuaTreeCoaching.com

“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 info@JoshuaTreeCoaching.com 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 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.

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.

It’s been raining here for what seems likes months – not unlike most other places on the East Coast.  And today promised nothing would change and as the day progressed there was little promise of a glimpse of precious sunshine.  In spite of the gray skies and pending precipitation, I was feeling a little lighter today.  Yes, my schedule was rearranged a bit – that happens.  Yet an early morning session cancellation led the way to getting some errands done a little earlier.

While waiting in line to pay for my items in the local market, the gentleman in front of was carrying on a very friendly conversation with the cashier.  Part of exchange was the gentleman sharing that his wife gets angry when he brings home things that were not on her grocery list.  More precisely, when he buys doughnuts.  It’s so hard to describe the look on his face as he smiled from ear to ear and the sheer joy and anticipation of eating those doughnuts.  It was difficult not to smile and be drawn in to his joy.  I got the feeling that his wife very much enjoyed having a treat as well, even though feigning anger.

After two more stops, my errands completed, I found myself driving and smiling.  Not just the small, inconspicuous smile that sometimes happens – this one was different.  I was marveling at all the different lives, the plethora of stories in one market.  The simple, and sometimes complicated, things that we all look forward to and enjoy.  The more I thought about my experiences from the beginning of my day until that time, I was surprised by all the moments of pure, unadulterated joy that was there for me.  And then it hit me…

My gift was the experience of authentic joy.  You know…you’ve experienced it at least once in your life…my spirit was light, my struggles seemed to have resolution, life slowed for a moment just for me and I was able to savor each moment and wrap myself in knowing an act as simple as buying a few items at the market can bring joy.  It’s not a chore that needs to get done, or something to hurry through to get to the next thing on the “to do” list.  It’s beyond attitude – it comes straight from the heart – I get to choose to experience joy in all my moments by experiencing life through my heart.

Whatever your struggles, worries, and concerns, invest your energy in becoming strong and challenge yourself to turn your thoughts to the joy that is surrounding you.  Will it make your struggle disappear?  No, it won’t.  When you turn your attention to becoming strong, that one choice alone will help you focus on the solutions that can work for you and when you begin to take positive action, that small action alone will lead to a sense of accomplishment that reveals joy.

Brings to mind the great philosopher, Carlos Casteneda, who said, “We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong.  The amount of work is the same.”

I choose strong and joy-filled!  What will you choose?

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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