Resilience: What does it really take?

ResilienceWe all have aspirations for something.

Even if we haven’t translated it yet into a specific goal, there’s something we want more of, less of or different.

It is the ultimate dichotomy I think of our humanness: We resist change and yet change is what we crave.

The underlying conflict in this seems to be that we want the change we want and nothing else.

We do not want to have to put change to work; we only want change that works for us. And we believe we are the best judge of what that might be.

But the best change quite often masquerades as something else, something perhaps we don’t recognize for its true potential.

That’s the essence of resilience. Being able to recognize opportunity in whatever comes our way. Once we’ve made the decision for what we want, then everything gets put to work to accomplish that. It’s one of the principal lessons I learned from Napoleon Hill’s work, Think and Grow Rich. The decision begins everything. Without a decision, there is no touchstone.

What does it really take then to go from decision to done? What does resilience need in order to work? From studying those that are repeatedly successful it would appear that there are three things that happen with resilience.

First is that everything becomes a resource and gets put to work. You see things differently. You see them through the lens of possibility. You become resourceful instead of just waiting on resources.

Second is a steadfast sense of resolve. Jim Rohn tells the story of a young girl that when asked to define resolve explained that it was a promise you make to yourself. When things go awry, as we know they will, it is our resolve that keeps us on track and moving forward.

The third element is not just what we get in the end, it’s what we continuously produce and that is results. Results are the most effective way to light our path. They show us which direction is working. They guide us along the way. That is why we have to measure from the first step, so we can harness the power of those results, adjusting our sails as we go.

What it really takes is not just one thing, in fact it’s really not a thing at all. When you think about it, what it takes is us. We make the decision, we become resourceful, we resolve to persevere and we follow the best results until we get there.

What is it you want? Decide. Start there. Let it begin.

Live (decide) today like you want tomorrow to be. Live (decide) well.

Your Changing Nest: Are you ready for what’s next? Part 2

Empty NestWelcome back to our conversation about the changing nest. Are you ready for what’s next? Here are some life practices to help you as you re-feather your nest for your next season. What makes them powerful is the fact that they are a part of our everyday life.

As I’ve moved through the empty nest in my own life, these have proved invaluable for moving me through those critical times as I have lived my “now” and designed my “next”!

Life practice #1– Bookending your day

Although this has long been a personal practice for me, it has changed greatly over the past few years as I’ve gone through some of these transitions. Let’s talk about what this really is about. Your morning practice is about centering and focus. It’s about getting grounded for whatever the day will bring. This can be a combination of activities – whatever helps you achieve that for yourself. It could be your journal, inspirational reading or audios, physical stretching exercises, meditation or prayer (or any combination of those!). It does not have to take a long time to be effective but it’s what is often referred to as a power hour. I never thought I would get up early for this but now I look forward to it every day.

Your evening practice (the other bookend!) is about letting go of the day and getting ready for what is next. Did you know that a core practice for fighting the dull-drums in life is having something to look forward to? When we end one day by knowing what we have to look forward to the next day, we rest more fully and awake with purpose. It’s easier to start when we have a plan. The most important part is letting go of today and looking forward to tomorrow. Whatever practices help you do that – those should be a part of your evening bookend. This is also a great time for your gratitude practices.

Life practice #2 – Re-Claiming Your Calendar

One of the most detrimental things I found myself doing when my daughter first got married and left the nest was waiting to see when she would need me. I hesitated committing to things until I knew what her plans would be. I was so afraid of not being available if she called or wanted to do something.

Giving me permission to create my life was essential and the first step was reclaiming my calendar. Making commitments and having things to look forward to. Even seeing her! I still remember the first time I had to tell her I had another commitment. It was a really tough moment but one that helped both of us recognize that in giving ourselves permission to experience more, we were in fact giving each other permission to do the same. There is great freedom in trust. If the calendar stays blank, so will our lives. Get some stars on your calendar!

The idea of something to look forward to has even made it into many definitions of happiness. Best-selling author and poet Rita Mae Brown is quoted as saying that “Happiness is pretty simple. You need someone to love, something to do and something to look forward to.”

Life practice #3 – Growing your life by growing you

“In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Have you ever felt like you are the glue holding everything together? That you’re the stability for everyone else? This is something I hear often. And when the nest changes, here’s a key place where we now start to think about this. When those responsibilities change, we aren’t always sure where to turn in our lives to find a focus, a purpose.

One of the things I love most about my life now is the fact that the decisions don’t feel so big anymore. I used to feel such weight with every choice. Now I recognize that everything is for a season and I’m able to enjoy it more fully. Learning and growing is a big part of that. My learning strategy was always about my profession. Now it’s about me. My life. Who I want to be and how I want to be. As I have grown, so has my life.

The only motivation in life that works every time is this: Progress. So go create some progress. Create your own change. That is going to create your own internal fire and motivation for more.

It’s a core practice that serves us all. Always be learning something. Always be growing. And be deliberate about it. Many people say that they are a “lifelong” learner and that they learn from everyone. That’s great. But also learn something specific. Take a class, a course, sign-up as a volunteer where you’ll learn a new skill. Be deliberate and embrace your inner explorer again!

Life practice #4- Always be expanding your circle!

I’m sure you’ve heard the concept that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. I first learned it from success philosopher Jim Rohn. When we think about how our life changes as our nest changes this is an important factor because in many cases, up to that point our relationships have been by default and defined by our roles versus intentional based on where we are personally growing. What are your current goals? Who are the best people to have around you for that? That is where I started. Those relationships have continued to grow and what is remarkable is that they were the catalyst for other new relationships. As we find kindred spirits, they introduce us to others. By always being open to expanding our circles, we are also expanding our life-scape.

Life practice #5- Make a difference – every day

One of the things that comes up often on the subject of empty nest and changes in the seasons of life is the idea of legacy. What do we want to be remembered for? We think about this as we again start looking at purpose and shifting roles and responsibilities. We begin to think that perhaps our purpose is bigger than we might have once believed or even conceived.

We often see people at this time of their time taking on causes and engaging more in their communities. And that’s a wonderful strategy.

But I would like for us to think about this even more universally and make it a life practice to make a difference for someone every day. The truth is that we already do whether we recognize it or not. Sometimes good, sometimes perhaps not, but we have a choice. If we set a goal everyday of making a positive difference the dividends in life satisfaction we achieve are priceless.

This is also where our example makes a tremendous difference. When our children see us moving beyond the nucleus and seeing beyond ourselves to a greater purpose, we are also encouraging them to do the same. Always remember that your legacy is never about what you leave. It is always about what you live.

Permission – Perspective – Possibilities

Use these life practices to create a life system that will guide you through from now to next. Not once – but every time throughout your life.

As my mentor Jim Rohn said: “We all have two choices: We can make a living or we can design a life.”

These practices can make the difference as you design a life.

Live today like you want tomorrow to be. Live well.

The many returns of the day, Part 3- What is your ROR?

RORWelcome back to our series where we are talking about how we achieve a good rate of return on our investments outside of invested cash. We are exploring the idea that where our money goes in and of itself is not really the indicator of what our future is going to look like.

Our priorities and choices in every part of our life are a factor.

In part 3, we’re talking about ROR or Return on Relationships. Are you a strategic in your relationships? Remember that being strategic is simply beginning with the end in mind. We all have relationships. It’s our perspective about their value and our respective roles in them where we begin to understand the idea of return when it comes to relationships.

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Do you have room for more?

Laughman_TIW_December 2015_Article 2_Room for MoreI confess.  Sometimes it is hard for me to let go of things. Whether it’s a painting, lamp, book, a piece of paper my granddaughter scribbled on for ten minutes 10 years ago or a friendship that is no longer serving the needs of either person. Somehow, it feels like giving up, like quitting. It feels as though the release itself is a cost I cannot bear to pay.

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Does that really matter?

Many open doors with directional arrow cloudsWe all have our own value system that directs our thoughts and actions.  Some of those values are inherited, some are the result of significant experiences and others have developed over time from study and observation.  Jim Rohn, one of my early mentors, taught that this is a key area for introspection and is at the heart of personal development.  I agree.  He stated it this way:  “Make certain that whatever you (think, believe, do) is the product of your own conclusion. Be a student of many, a follower of none.”

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Getting to the finish line: 5 Reasons (Times) Motivation Matters

Laughman_Oct 2015_Article 4_Finish lineDeciding what you want, even how to get it is only part of getting you to where you want to be.  To be successful there is another element required: Knowing why we are doing what we plan to do. Without clear motivation– we will lack an essential element we need to sustain us through to success.

If we can’t keep going – we’ll soon stop going. Knowing why we are doing something is the glue that holds everything together.

How does motivation work? While there are many illustrations, it comes down to these 5 essential principals:

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Your Journal: A Textbook for Life’s Journey

Mature woman holding journal and thinking.A core personal practice that has been one of the key contributors to my personal growth is journaling. This subject came up recently at a master mind group and it was a reminder that not everyone may know about how powerful this practice can be.

Although I started this in theory as a young girl (does anyone else remember your first diaries?) the idea of writing everyday about my life and how my world was coming into (or out of!) focus has had its own evolution over the years, rather like me! If this is not a practice you employ, I would urge you to consider adding this to your personal development toolbox.

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List, List, Who’s Got a List?

Your list on a note on a fridge door with magnetIf I were to ask you if you have a “To Do List”, there is a high probability that you would say yes.

It might be on paper, on your smart phone or be a mental check list but most of us operate day to day based on what we think we need to get done.

And somewhere in there, we usually have a list!

First let’s agree that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a to-do list. In fact it’s an effective tool. All of the studies on productivity stand by the importance of being organized for strategic action.

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1, 2, 3 (Mindset) Go!

Over the course of my life I have invested thousands of hours researching how people are able to effectively grow and change.  After all, we know that success leaves clues and being able to grow is the most elemental change we can experience in our lives.

My study of progressive success included scores of interviews, listening to hundreds of recorded hours with thought leaders and reading countless books written by experts on change and personal development. It also includes what has proven true in my own life and in the lives of my clients.

My conclusion? Everything begins and ends with our mindset.

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Ready, Set Change! The Value of Zero Based Thinking

Change is more than a choice. Change is a privilege. Think about that for a moment. What if you were not able to change where you are, what you know, who you know, what you do? The gift of choice (change) is the most fundamental freedom in any life.

Some changes are wholly visible and immediate. We recognize those. Other changes are more gradual and happen over time. Those are the changes we don’t always see. But it is those changes that can generate the greatest difference for us if we are mindful of them.  As we grow through life, we need to periodically look at the choices we made in the past to be certain that they are still the right ones for us.

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