Are You Faking?


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It’s that time of year again! That time when everyone seems to be making new year’s resolutions. Some folks are excited about them and some are just ignoring the whole darn thing.

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For many, the turning of the New Year is the perfect opportunity to reset intentions, define goals and feel a fresh enthusiasm for life and possibilities.

 Certainly, it’s not necessary to wait for the New Year to do any of those things but, you might want to know that setting goals, of the New Year’s Resolution type or any other kind, is arguably the most important skill you can learn to improve your self-confidence. 

The process of setting goals, if done well, requires tapping into your vision. It draws out of you those future achievements that you know will make you proud. And, setting the right type of goals (for you) focuses your acquisition of knowledge and helps you organize – your time, your inner and outer resources – so you can live more of the life you want.

(Want a new approach to goals that doesn’t feel forced? Drop me a line or give me a call.)

 These are the very same reasons many people avoid setting goals at any time of the year. Setting goals can, and often does, dredge up obstacles.

 It’s pretty typical to avoid setting goals because it brings up worries that we’ll let ourselves down. It brings up beliefs that we can’t reach for what we want because we don’t have enough self-confidence (now there’s a negative loop, for you). Or it reminds us of those times when we tried and failed, and so on.

One of my clients recently told me that her New Years’s Resolution is to “Fake it ’til I make it.” Then she wondered aloud if that was a good idea.

 This is a common piece of advice… Is it a myth or does it work?

 Well, it depends.

 It depends on what you mean by “fake it” and on what you’re faking. It depends on your level of experience with the area of said faking. It depends on your attitude while you are faking it, which has something to do with whether you are an extrovert or an introvert. And it depends on how comfortable you are trying something new.

 If what you mean by faking it is hopping into the driver’s seat  of a Fiat Spider when your only experience to date has been playing Mario Kart, then yes, read on...

There Will Be Failure

You’re going to fail. I will too. During this winter holiday season we will all fail in some way or other, at least once. We’ll say the wrong thing, omit a present, eat poorly, rush ourselves and our loved-ones, maybe snarl at someone just doing his job, or worse, snap at someone close to us. Most of all, we’ll forget that we have control over how we react and a choice about how we manage moment to moment. (For tips about how to Turn Your Day Around in 180 Seconds, you can get the Move Into Change newsletter here.)

Failure is real and, though we might not realize it, we’re successful because we fail not in spite of it. We fail continually during each and every day. When something doesn’t work out (a form of failure) we adjust (a form of success) until we transform a small mistake or an epic fail into a different success. Ryan Babineaux (Fail Fast, Fail Often) calls this process “failing forward,” a term I’ve come to adore.

So what of the failures you’ll inevitably encounter during the next few weeks? How can you take some control over the sense of overwhelm that causes you to miss opportunities? How can you strengthen your relationships? How do you ease the stress that causes you to make a default choice instead of acting on a deeper commitment to yourself?

You can begin by understanding more about the value of failure (look for future posts).

And, you can pause to bring some compassion to yourself for your mistake.

It’s possible to pause any situation you’re in. It’s possible to take a mere 5 minutes to check – in with yourself so you don’t check-out by responding more like a puppet than the terrific person you are.

Often it’s at this time of year that you wish you had already built stronger  resilience so you’d have something to rely on now, when you need it most. If you’ve already been practicing, the holiday season can make it more challenging to carve out 30 minutes to meditate or an hour to exercise amidst all the shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, socializing and traveling.

It’s never to late to start to develop your Pause Ability. You don’t need a guru, fancy equipment, or find non-existent hours to devote to it.

And, with the gift of the pause, there will be success.

New In 2015 INTRODUCING! The Pause Ability Place.

I’d love to hear about the miniscule and gigantic ways a simple pause helped you. Or, if you use PauseAbilities, tell me about that. I’ll share your stories in future newsletters (with your permission, of course). If you aren’t receiving the newsletter yet, you can see a sample or sign up and get started on making change in your life with my complimentary workbook, “Permission Granted: Move Into Change With Your Own Approval,” here.

A story from my life to start us off …
The other day, I was organizing my office closet. It was going pretty well. There were problems and re-adjustments that flowed so quickly from one to the next the process felt almost effortless. Then, there was that moment… half of my files, books, coaching materials and office supplies were still piled up outside the closet and the closet was full. Ugh. After too many tries, I still couldn’t figure out how to make it all fit. Frustrated, I was tempted to walk away or shove it all in  and slam the door (not gently).

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Instead, I paused. I noticed the tightness in my chest & shoulders and the tizzy I was in. I could hardly sense my legs because there was so much going on in my mind; “Look at the mess, I’ll never find a place for everything. What possessed me to start this project today?!” I needed grounding. I took out my phone and following the prompts from PauseAbility #3, I felt some relief. I realized I was trying to squeeze an idea from my frustrated mind, and within the space of the pause, a new idea came to me. Ah, much better.

Here’s another…

I am holding this space for you to reply to me and share your story that will appear in our Pause Ability Place coming in 2015. With the next story be yours?

Warmly,

Judy

 

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How “Thank You” Can Make You Happy

I just paused to look out the window. The rust gold leaves and the grey blue of the harbor waters are truly beautiful. The scene is different than it was 30 minutes ago when I breezed by it on my way to the computer. I’m grateful for this; the view, the ongoing changes in it, the sun today, all of it.

Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave, you’ve probably been reading about or hearing talk of gratitude. There are gratitude journals, daily gratitude tweets and all sorts of books about it too. Unfortunately “Gratitude” is in danger of becoming a buzzword (if it isn’t one already). Worse, it could become a fad, empty of its life enhancing juice. Just when I was getting comfortable…

Twenty, no make that ten, years ago “grateful” would not have been a word I wanted in my vocabulary. I don’t think I ever said it. Despite hearing even back then about the benefits of gratitude, I resisted. There was something about it that felt wrong.

Don’t misunderstand, I didn’t have trouble feeling appreciative of the things other people did for me or gave to me, nor difficulty expressing those feeling with words and deed. I liked the concept of appreciation. So why not gratitude?

It turns out that gratitude, for me, was synonymous with indebtedness – a holdover from childhood. I was resisting the message of guilt and insincerity I’d attached to it, and who wouldn’t? It turns out that I’m not alone, may people think of gratitude as a requirement. Luckily, once I figured that out, I felt free to use the word to mean “appreciation” and to let the feelings of being lucky, satisfied and safe come along with it.

We could make up a different name for gratitude, we could call it “Frenginslouge” and the effects would be the same.

Because, the benefits of practicing gratitude are real.

Research in the field of Positive Psychology has yielded some interesting outcomes including results from studies focused on the benefits of gratitude conducted by Robert Emmons from the University of California at Davis.“ The prac­tice of grat­i­tude can increase hap­pi­ness lev­els by around 25%,” states Emmons. “Cul­ti­vat­ing grat­i­tude brings other health effects, such as longer and bet­ter qual­ity sleep time.” For a summary of some of those studies you can look here.

 Gratitude is an emotion and emotions require…a pause.

Pausing serves to slow you down so you can access positive emotions like gratitude. You can appreciate something in your environment, or in your past, or feel grateful for someone you usually take for granted or whom you tend to pass without noticing. This pause-break can make a huge difference in your well-being, satisfaction with your life and resilience too.

As I write this,  I pause right here to appreciate YOU with this complimentary PauseAbility For Gratitude download.   Just click HERE

(After you click on the link, follow the prompts to “purchase” the download for $0.)

A wholehearted thank you for thinking and feeling along with me as you read. Thank you for the lovely replies you’ve sent in the past, and those you’ve thought about sending.

If you liked this, share it! Thank you.

Warmly,

Judy

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Puppet or Pause Ability?

116663554-mannequin-style-string-puppet-or-marionette-gettyimagesLast night I was watching How to Get Away With Murder when I needed a drink. I pressed the pause button on the remote and made the trek upstairs to the kitchen. After sipping some water, I sat back down to witness Professor Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) careen between being a terrifying control freak and a horrible hot mess of a brilliant woman.

 

I felt great. I was more comfortable and noticeably more alert because I had paused. Davis’s character was still being pulled apart by her emotions. Poor Annalise …

 

We’re all familiar with pausing a show or a song to run to the bathroom or get a snack. That’s all it takes to to get what we need. It’s pretty easy, right?

 

Most pauses take a mere 3 – 5 minutes. Pauses that give us time for something other than a snack, like interrupting an emotional explosion (remember counting to 10?) or before we’re about to make a presentation or enter a social setting like a party, also take little time. But they tend to be something we only occasionally remember to do.

 

Mostly we shift quickly from one thing to the next without a moments pause. We barely register our full reaction before it’s off to the races. When we do remember to pause, we usually don’t take complete advantage of it, either.

 

Fly on the wall at Erin’s office just the other day:

Erin gets on the phone with her client, Michael, a few seconds after having an unpleasant interaction with a co-worker. Michael doesn’t t know anything about this situation but within the first few seconds he reacts to her tone of voice. She seems to be in a negative mood and distracted (which she is). He wonders if he’s done something to annoy her. Michael questions whether Erin is truly ready to give him the attention he had paid for.         Uh oh!

If you knew Erin, you’d know that she is smart, good at her job, committed to her clients, caring in her relationships, and well meaning. Erin is also a busy person. Being the mature woman that she is, Erin most likely noticed her upset. Perhaps she felt “frustration.” She probably said something to herself like “Grrr, better pull myself together, I have a call in 2 minutes, can’t deal with this now, it’s too big…” She may not have noticed her jaw clench and her breathing tighten. She certainly thought she could push the annoyance aside and get going on the next agenda item.

 

The thing is, all that pushing aside has an effect. Often it affects us in the moment, as in Erin’s first few minutes with Michael. Too frequently, the accumulation of countless unacknowledged reactions in our day leaves us drained, fatigued, short tempered and/or vaguely anxious.

 

Have you had an experience like Erin’s or have you had thoughts like these?

“But if I stop, even for just a few minutes, I might collapse and not start back up again, ever!”

 “I’ll pause after I finish this, and that, and that. Then I’ll be able to take care of me and it. ”

 “I’ll take go back and revisit it after I’ve crossed everything off my list for the day.”

 “What will a few minutes do? I have to focus on what’s important! I need to bear down.”

 

I have said these same words or a version of them. So have my clients.

 

It’s easy to get caught in believing that ignoring our selves won’t matter, or that we’ll catch up with our inner life later. It can also be a challenge to trust that pausing will make a big enough difference for us to be willing to do it.

 

It matters.

Think about how many times in your day you transition from one thing to the next. Not one, not two, could be fifty, could be hundreds. If we are carrying unacknowledged sensations from just a third of those moments with us, we are unlikely to be our best. And, that’s an understatement! By the end of the day or even earlier, we are very likely to be drained and scattered. We might observe ourselves numbing out with TV, food, or silly FB quizzes if we weren’t so busy trying to get away from ourselves.

 

Not only does our go- go life drain us of vital life energy, it robs us of knowing the best of ourselves. It impacts on work, personal relationships and our fundamental feeling of being at home within ourselves, something we rarely take the time to nourish.

 

If we begin to become aware of what’s happening inside us, we can then make choices about how to work with it. It allows us to regulate impulses, thoughts, emotions and behaviors at the micro level. With each pause we strengthen our ability to make a new choice, to allow a fresher perspective to bubble up.

 

It’s as if the pause opens the door for new possibilities to occur to us. And the ability to do that gives us the strength to pause more.

 

But, if we continue to go through life unaware, we’re more like puppets, individuals who allow life to happen to us.

 

The pause allows us to check in for a moment with who we are. The pause sets the stage for us to align who we really are with what we do. 

 9019737-hand-cutting-the-strings-of-a-puppet-giving-it-freedomThe pause cuts the puppet strings for a moment.

 

Now we have a pause, which opens up possibilities and then becomes a skill, an ability… a Pause Ability!

Thanks for coming with me this far. There’s more to come when I share one best way to pause.

If you liked this, share it!

Warmly

Judy

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Sparkling 7: Advice Gems That Just Might Change Your Life

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Bad advice is like a clumsy dance partner, it steps on our toes and turns us at the wrong time. Good advice invites us to dance with it, even if we’re not sure how.

Can’t say I always knew that these 7 gems were the nuggets I needed when they first came my way. But, something about each one lodged somewhere in me  so  I couldn’t forget it.

Perhaps that’s the way we know a gem from a fake…it sticks. It may not be comfortable but it resonates.

It’s possible that at least one of my Sparkling 7 can be useful or even epiphany inducing for you. If you’ve got some gems you’d like to add to our collective treasure – yes, please!

In random order:

1. Not everything requires a response.

Are you super duper available and patient? Do you pride yourself on being kinder to others than you are to yourself? Do you think that just because someone asks, the law of “niceness” requires you answer? You’re nice, even if the “asker” isn’t being kind or considerate? Do you get drained easily? Are your thumbs constantly poised to answer texts, tweets or email? These are clues that you might not believe you can delay a response. Do you know you are free to chose not to give one at all.

2. Worry is the least effective way to show love.

Worry is a habit that not only robs you of this moment but future moments too. Worry much?

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3. Always carry mad money.

This was one of my mother’s gems. In her time, carrying her own money was self-preservation in case a date went badly, a subversive act for a young woman who was expected to rely on a man for safety & fun.  With her words in my ears,  I kept an emergency savings account when I was single and still do. And, as I get older, “mad money” represents  more than a financial cushion, it means nurturing sovereignty in all its forms.

4. Pause.

Taking a break is healthy, you know this already. There are a gazillion ways to pause, some of them not so beneficial for you, like smoking a cigarette. Certain types of pauses, especially those that help you connect to your body, bring about greater calm, steadiness, and focus. A “pause habit” can seriously alter your ability to find solutions to problems, and your self-confidence too.

pause button

Click the button

Hint: try this in place of any unhealthy habit you’d like to change.

5. Start where you are.

Seems too obvious to be on this list, but stay with me because this could turn out to be the most valuable gem yet. Though many of us have a sense of where we’d like to be in our lives, or the way we’d like to be in our lives, we are less skilled at discerning where we actually are. Imagine using a map from the wrong “you are here” icon!!

6. Sacrificing (giving up something deeply important to you) for another person is seldom a good idea for you, them and, or the relationship.

Sacrifice breeds resentment. Period.

7. Only you can prevent forest fires.

Smokey The Bear is a zen master. His message, that our actions have consequences, is intense because he knows that one thoughtless act can set something beautiful ablaze. If this was a  metaphor for life, how would you treat the things you take for granted?  The people? Your inner environment? I’ve set off a few “forest fires” in my life. because I blamed others for my unhappiness. Have you inflamed a situation with a word or action? Only you…

smokey-the-bear

Zen Master

Would love to hear your gems!

Warmly, Judy

Judy Garfinkel
Life,Career & Learning Coach

MoveIntoChange.com

917.450.1524 (cell)
203.674.8105
Release yourself from stress, indecision and fatigue with a simple Pause 

Wednesday Words: Deviate Baby

crapsdiceroll It’s possible that life could get better by chance…it could happen, it sometimes does. But to paraphrase Jim Rohn, it’s more likely that life, your life, my life, will get better by change, not chance.

And, if you’re like me, the phrase “Get out of your comfort zone” feels a bit stale  (wise as this advice might be). Instead, think about the shift a small deviation can bring. Want something specific in your life to be different than it has been? Ask yourself, “What’s normal for me?” and then deviate.

Neuroscience tells us something fascinating about our brains; while one system craves routine and “normalcy,” the other thrives on variety and change. No wonder we strive to get into a groove and then before we know it that system becomes a numbing rut!

When I moved our entire household for the second time in four months, I couldn’t help but notice how essential it was to establish routines. You know, for those areas of life where going on automatic makes it possible to think about something beyond “Where’d I put the spoons?” At the same time,  it was delightful to see our stuff in new places and to register the absence of the usual. Fresh sights, sounds and smells made me more alert and I could be a smidge more present to my immediate surroundings.

You don’t have to move to experience small changes lthat remind you of your vitality.Tiny deviations, a new route to work, wearing your watch on the other wrist, saying “No” when you’d normally say “Yes,”  or, saying  “Yes,” when you’d habitually say, “No” can wake you up.  You shift perspective.  Loosened up and re-connected you just may feel emboldened to discover a different response to a persistent problem, or even go for that new form of exercise, eating habit, meditation practice, job, or who knows…

Invite some playfulness and creativity into this practice- nothing more needed than what you can already muster – and take a look at at what you can tweak this week. Post your ideas here!

Enjoy!

Judy

Sample Move Into Change Newsletter here.

Fall in Love with Your Life

What would it take for you to love your life?

Dear Valentine’s Day,

I’m using you as an excuse to talk about what matters to me.

Today, I’m thinking about how often I hear people say, “I hate my life.” Granted, it’s usually in a moment of frustration, annoyance or when yet another obstacle arises. I know I felt like this when the ceiling fell in on our bed. But I digress…

Most people, when pressed would say they didn’t really mean it, at least, not in the sense of being clinically depressed. They say that no, no, they like their lives, or maybe they just feel embarrassed by an outburst that holds a kernel of truth.  side note: If you feel so awful that you don’t want to go on living, stop right here and call someone for help.

Falling in love with your life is a little bit like falling in romantic love for the first time, but it’s more akin to rekindling the fire in a long-term relationship like marriage.

If you’ve been in a relationship for longer than a year, you know that relationships get into habits. Difficulties can get swept under the stove. We can start assuming we know what the other person will say and feel and how they’ll react. Sometimes we react as if they already said, felt and did those things before they even happen. We even interpret something new in light of the old. It can be jarring when years into the relationship one or both parties wake-up and wonder “How did we get here?” “Do I still love this person? What does it mean to love him/her now? We can feel trapped and uncertain about what to do next.

See where I’m going here?

We have a relationship with our lives, as we live it every day, whether we know it or not. If we walk away from this relationship we abandon only our selves.

The first step, and always the first step, is to intend to have a new relationship with your life. To commit to it. Dear Life, will you be mine?

Feeling the love again requires some work. No news there.

Questions to explore are the same for any other love relationship. Do I like my life? Do I Love it? What habits have I gotten into? Do I expect less of myself and tamp my desires because I’ve let myself down before? What have I decided is true that isn’t? Am I willing to look at my responsibilities here, including not taking on what isn’t mine? How do I treat me? How do I treat my life? What actions will I take to spark some change?

What will it take to fall in love with my life?

Coaching is one tool for falling in love with your life. Check out 27 Benefits to Coaching.

Love, Judy

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Dissolving a Habit

If you like this kind of thing- tips and tools for self-coaching- you can sign up for the Move Into Change Newsletter here. Below is an example of one type of content you’ll get.

DISSOLVING A HABIT: 5 IDEAS FOR A PLAN

The sink in my new home is across from the stove to the right instead of beside me to the left, the way it was in my old place. No big deal, except each time I want the sink I turn to the left before I realize that it’s the other way.

This habit of turning to the left worked well in the old kitchen situation but doesn’t here. That’s the way it is with habits. They may have worked before but now, they don’t.

50shousewifeNo, not really me.:)

Habits exist so that we don’t have to think so much.

Imagine if we didn’t create habits. We’d be rethinking all things all the time. We’d be up in the middle of the night deciding which way to get to the bathroom, or thinking about how to form the letter “a” while trying to write our thoughts.

We’d be exhausted and still never get beyond inventing the wheel…or to the toilet in time.

Habits, a.k.a, patterns, put us on “automatic,” resulting in large parts of our lives being better. Easier.

We can thank our brains for this ability to be efficient.     Basal_Ganglia_and_Related_Structures.svg

The Basal Ganglia, is a big player in habit making.

Every habit we have serves a purpose, some way it made our life better at the time we made it, though that purpose may not be as simple, or obvious, as getting to the sink quickly with a hot pot of pasta.

So what to do when a pattern no longer helps us?

When the mindlessness of “automatic” makes it difficult to be as healthy, productive, creative, kind, or as loving as we desire it’s time for a change.

Luckily, our brilliant brains are adaptable too. Some patterns re-adjust or shift on their own, subconsciously, the same way they are made. I’m sure that I’ll soon have a new pattern in the kitchen and that cute little spin I do at the stove will disappear.

It’s trickier when a habit  doesn’t change on its own.

If it’s an old habit, chances are it’s not going to shift as easily as my kitchen example. At this point, dissolving a pattern requires coaxing its reasons for being out from the gray world of rote behavior into the brighter light of gentle inquisitiveness.

It requires mindfulness.

And a plan.

A plan unique to you.

I hope you’ll use the following 5 elements to craft such a plan. When I work with clients I use these very same elements. A recent client stopped smoking, another is exercising every day, and another is making different food choices. I quit biting my nails years ago by incorporating these elements into a plan.

  • Do things that help you learn about yourself and your body like journaling, meditation,  PauseAbilities,yoga, therapy, energy work.
 
  • Find ways to quiet the judging and shaming yourself for having this habit, or waiting too long or not moving fast enough or whatever way you shame or “should” yourself.
  •  Start learning about the needs you are meeting by maintaining this habit. There can be more than one current one, and older ones too.
  • A. Cut down slowly and intentionally. B. Introduce new behavior that meets the needs behind the habit.
  • Celebrate the small victories! They add up and keep momentum flowing.

All 5 elements are equally important to creating the type of plan that doesn’t emphasize outer or inner work, but integrates the two.If you like this, please share it. Responses, comments and questions are always welcome.

Judy

Wednesday Words

confidence myth #2_bPerfectionism is one of the biggest obstacles to self- confidence.

There are many myths about confidence, and, there are terrific practices to help us stay connected to our confidence and to develop more. While we actively increase our internal and external assets, it’s important to look at the patterns of thinking and believing that get in the way of self- confidence too.

I didn’t even know I was dealing with perfectionism until I started to explore patterns of behavior like avoidance, procrastination, and refusing to say Yes! when a good opportunity came my way and then regretting it.   “Who me? A perfectionist? Me, who can’t even ….” as I went on to list all the ways I wasn’t perfect enough to even call myself a perfectionist — Oh my.

So I did some experimenting. I acted like I was using perfectionistic thinking even though I wasn’t sure. I took to observing where the “never going to be good enough” voices were so quiet and powerful I barely was aware of how quickly I reacted to them.  And yup, the data showed me that it was time to take a look at how to interact with this “stuff.”

If you want more self-confidence, find yourself doubting your skills, avoid things you really want, and then doubt that you even want them, you might experiment with seeing how perfectionism shows up for you.

If you are already experimenting, I’d love to hear how it’s going.

Judy

Judy@moveintochange.com

Meditation Monday: I need a mom…

middle pillar“I’m not tired.” Remember being five and insisting you weren’t tired even as you were crying for no apparent reason or running around like a crazed chipmunk?

I do. And, I remember being on the mommy side of this moment too; knowing that I needed to insist that it was “time for bed” because my little one just couldn’t figure it out for herself.

This week I did everything to not meditate. Well, it seemed like everything… I was cranky, uncomfortable, tired, distracted – looking everywhere for relief, except to the one thing that would bring me back to me.

It happens.

Luckily, after a few days of flailing Meditation Mommy came to visit. She’s the part of me who remembers to take care of me when the rest of me forgets. She has all the qualities I need:

  • A squishy lap: softness
  • Hugs: warmth
  • Loves me when I’m a mess (or think I am): acceptance
  • Sparkly blue eyes: aliveness
  • Unlimited ability to listen: empathy
  • Nowhere else to go: patience
  • Holds the superpower of Yes: trust
  • Knows what I need: wisdom

She took me gently by the hand and steered me to the mat. She insisted (kindly, of course) that I sit, “Just for a few minutes.” Assuring me that,       “After you’re done you can go back to any craziness you choose.” So I did. And then, of course, I didn’t.

You can sign up for occasional emails with tips and tools for self coaching and more, just click moveintochange.com  Then go forth and tell your friends. Thanks.

Want to ask a private question? email: judy@moveintochange.com