Perspective

I’ve been sending out invitations for my wedding taking place in July of this year. As a communications’ professional, this is one of the most exciting parts of planning a wedding – the actual formal communication of this incredible day for which my Fiancé and I are busy planning.

Over the weekend, a telemarketer (hello duct cleaning!) used caller ID spoofing software to robocall thousands of people using my parents’ home phone number. Many of these people have been calling back to ask why we called them. Some of them angry. Understandably so. We’ve received thousands of calls since Saturday, and have had to unplug the phone line or lose our minds due to incessant ringing.

Here’s the thing: My parents’ home phone number is one of the ways to RSVP for the wedding. We’ve sent out 90 invitations. With. That. Phone. Number.

AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Needless to say, I was a little frantic when this first happened. There was a lot of rage anger, particularly about why this happened to begin with (I’ll save that for another day). It created a lot of tension, and my imagination went down many paths of crazy. We’re not going to get our RSVP numbers right and that’s going to ruin EVERYTHING! Even though there’s also an email address on the invitation to RSVP. OMG we’re going to have to change the phone number and that’s so much work I don’t have time for, and then, what if the telemarketer gets the new number and does this all over again?!? True story we have to change the phone number, but the other part? Really, Fazeena? I worked so hard on planning this wedding, and this is so unfair! Yup… shit happens.

Spending time at Motel Crazytown

While the first couple of days of this experience were incredibly frustrating and filled with rage anger, I realized (with some awesome listening and advice from the Fiancé) that staying in this space was using up too much of my energy. And when you’re planning a wedding, buying a house and building a business, energy can very often be stretched.

It’s necessary to feel emotions to process experiences in a healthy way or we risk creating energy blocks that lead to other issues. BUT we reach a point where it becomes necessary to recognize the messages playing in our minds and to ask whether those messages are fueling our emotions in a way that help us forward or keep us stuck. We can take it a step further and ask what the fears behind the messages are to begin with. That inquiry alone will start to create a shift.

Contraction or expansion?

We always have a choice. We can choose to think and act from a place of contraction (fear) – RSVP numbers will be off and it’s going to be a disaster! Or we can choose to think and act from a place of expansion (love) – Yes, we have to call a lot of people, but hey, I haven’t talked to them in a while, so we get to connect, and perhaps we’ll get the RSVP numbers quicker than we expected. Which one sounds better? Lighter? More joyful?

Motel Crazytown was good for the first 48, but it began to feel gross and dingy, so I checked out and decided on the expansive route. It’s not ideal, but it’s the current situation, and it’ll be OK.

That’s the thing with perspective. We can choose at any moment to shift. Two days ago, I was livid. Today, I’m finding the situation mildly funny. The power is in the choice. What perspective will you choose?

How has a change in perspective helped you in past situations? Share your experience below.

Getting unstuck

I can’t seem to get myself going. I’m distracted… an email alert goes off and I click on the email. I read the email, check something online, look at social media and then go back to writing my blog post. I write a couple more lines. Another alert goes off… distracted again. Frustrated. Sigh.

I started my blog last month, and I committed to blogging once every two weeks. The first two posts went very well. This one, not so much. I can’t seem to come up with a concept and message that I feel passionate about. And I don’t like being wishy-washy about what I have to say. And the thing is, I have a lot to say, so what’s really going on here?

Letting go of the belief that I need to be perfect

The belief that I need to be perfect is, by far, my biggest challenge. And I know it’s what I’m struggling with as I write this post. I seem to think it needs to be an epic, ground-breaking masterpiece that changes the world. Come to think of it, I seem to think that for just about everything I write. Hmmmm… The point is, the more I think about how “epic” this post needs to be, the more I watch time tick away. The more time ticks away, the less I do and the worse I feel. There have been countless times that I’ve thought I must have a fully baked idea before I start doing something, and I’ve given up opportunities to meet people, attend events and put myself out there, all with the belief that I needed to be “more”. How many times have you told yourself that tomorrow you’ll feel more confident, more knowledgeable, more ready just to have tomorrow turn into next week, month, or year?

Embracing where I am at any given moment

I’ve decided to challenge the idea of perfection by embracing where I am at this very moment. I’m sitting in a café sharing my struggle – voices from multiple conversations, the sound of clanking dishes and the hum of a blender surround me. This blog post is not fully conceived by my lofty standards, but embracing where I am in this moment has somehow led me to write something, taking one step forward – one step further than where I was an hour ago when I couldn’t get myself going. So what if this blog post isn’t the best one I’ve ever written? What do I have to lose? At the very least, I’ll be seen as a person, who despite being a coach, also experiences struggles just like everyone else. I’m not perfect. You’re not perfect. Conditions will never be perfect. And that’s OK. Sometimes it just needs to be about who we are at a specific moment. Sometimes embracing that is all we need to do to get ourselves unstuck.

How might the belief of needing to be perfect be holding you back from moving forward with your goals? How have you gotten yourself moving in moments you’ve felt stuck? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Who are you? Look no further than your values

Who are you and what do you want?

Give yourself a few moments to think about it, and if you can, write down what comes to mind.

I admit I used to loathe when people asked me this question, and not because I thought they wanted to know too much, but because I didn’t actually know the answer to the question! The quickest things that would come to mind were my name, my age (if I felt like disclosing it), my job title, the city I lived in and that’s about it. Sound familiar?

I would leave those moments in frustration thinking to myself, “Geez, who am I and what am I all about and why is this question stumping me so much?!?”

I didn’t ask the question at the beginning of this post to trip you up, but to invite you to focus, even if only for a moment, to tune in to who you are at your core – the person beyond your job title, the city you live in and your relationship status. What’s important to you? What experiences do you seek? What legacy do you want to leave?

From what I’ve seen, too many of us don’t know who we are and what we want, because we’ve spent most of our lives being told who we should be and what we should want that when asked, we’re unable to articulate a response that’s clear, confident and that reflects our true substance. I would even argue that this also extends to businesses.

If this has you thinking, “Well, how do I begin to figure out who I am and what I want?” not to worry, because I have an exercise that will help you.

Values… why values?

One big step in figuring out who you are and what you want is identifying your values. Values help us to determine what’s important to us and serve as a blueprint for a fulfilling life. They’re unique to each individual – one person may value connection, freedom and abundance, while another may value solitude, influence and loyalty. The first person may be more inclined to be her own boss and like networking with a variety of people, while the second may prefer a position in an organization she can stay with for a long time and work independently. When we know what our values are, we’re informed and empowered to choose the career, experiences and people that invite more of what makes us feel good in our lives.

Discovering your values

Figuring out what your values are doesn’t have to be a laborious task. Ask yourself what you spend time doing that makes you feel good. On the flip side, ask yourself what experiences or behaviours really irk you. Jot your answers down. You’ll start to see a pattern develop. Perhaps you seek out thrilling activities like zip lining or boot camp, and so you may value adventure or intensity. Maybe you become livid when someone jumps the line at the grocery store or you see people get taken advantage of, and so you might value fairness or justice. A quick Google search for “list of values” will provide an abundance of words you can choose from to zero in on what’s important to you. This exercise is sure to serve you with an “aha” moment or two.

Putting your values into action

When we know what our values are, we become empowered to make conscious decisions about our lives. We’re far more easily able to define who we are, what we want and design a life filled with relationships, endeavours, and activities that honour what’s most important to us. The more we take steps to honour our values, the more we feel in tune with ourselves and live from an authentic space of joy. If it feels like a stretch to start putting your values into action, start small. The intention is not to jump from 0 to 100 and quit your job or end a relationship. Avoid thinking about making such drastic moves to start. Begin with one small step like putting aside 15 minutes of “me time” daily or sign up for that rock climbing club that meets once a month.

Closing words…

My most confusing moments about who I am and what I want have also been my unhappiest moments in life where I didn’t know my values (or temporarily strayed from them) – the job that no longer aligned with my value of autonomy, the relationship that didn’t click with my value of connection, the coaching program that didn’t speak to my value of creativity. When we find ourselves in a place of confusion, chances are we’re not in alignment with our values. Thankfully, we don’t have to go far to figure out what those are and make changes that get us back on track.

What’s one of your values and how will you make sure you’re honouring it going forward? Comment below and let us know!

You owe it to yourself to stand out from the crowd

You have something that no one else in this world has. You are one of a kind. You have a unique combination of skills, talents and gifts that no one else possesses. You have a unique path and journey to experience that is unlike anyone else’s. And there are people in the world who need what you have.

You might be wondering what the heck I’m talking about, but hear me out…

Remember when you were a child how imaginative and creative you were? You sang and danced and dressed up in the silliest of costumes you could think up and you thought you could do and be anything you wanted when you grew up. Remember when what anyone thought was so far from your mind, and you were just being you?

We live in a society that approves of people and businesses that conform. We’re expected to act and look a certain way. We’re expected to accomplish a list of specific things by externally defined milestones, and then we’re held up for comparison against others and given labels for what we’ve accomplished, or not. Consciously or unconsciously, for better or worse (usually worse), we give life to those labels.

Each time we give life to those labels, we shrink back to fit in. The more we “fit in”, the more we diminish our shine.

How would you live your life if you didn’t worry about what others thought about you? Would you live it the way you are right now? Would you be in the job you’re in? Wear the clothes you wear? Speak the way you do? Run your business the way you run it presently?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, what is continuing to do it the same way costing you?

Two years ago, I asked myself this same question. My life was vastly different from how it is now. I had been with the same company for close to eight years waiting to be promoted to the next step on the corporate ladder. In my mind, I had to move up, because that’s what you’re supposed to do to be successful in our society. I was feeling frustrated and deflated and stuck and I had back pain – lots of back pain!

I was suffocating, living a robotic existence of commuting, work, unwind in front of the TV. Rinse, repeat. I knew there was some specific contribution I was meant to make in the world – an untapped potential that was so desperate to emerge, it was becoming painful. It became clear to me that I didn’t want to one day look back and regret that I didn’t find a way to free that potential and make my own unique mark in the world. In that realization came another more profound one – I had choice. I always had choice, and in that moment, I decided to make the most risky, scariest decision I ever made. I decided to stand out from the crowd and do something many talk about, but rarely act on.

While I didn’t know what I was moving towards, the clarity and declaration of making a different choice rapidly opened up circumstances and opportunities that enabled me to leave my job five months later in the best possible way one could dream up. I didn’t have another job lined up (people thought I was crazy) nor had I started my own business as yet (it wasn’t even a thought in my mind).  Somehow I was OK with that, because I knew I would figure it out – my way – and I did. Oh and the back pain? It went away. Permanently.

There are people in the world who need what you have – that dream, that idea, the expression of your journey, that way of doing something that no one else does. In that space resides joy, fulfillment, passion, freedom and your unique imprint on the world. If this post resonates with you, let it be proof that just as that is, there are people out there waiting for you. You owe it to yourself to stand out from the crowd. Will you?

What’s one gift, talent, skill or idea you’ve held back on to “fit in”? How can you embrace it and begin making your unique imprint on the world? Share your thoughts in the comments below.