Monday, January 25, 2010

"Get Out of YOUR Way: Stepping Forward in the Face of Yourself!"-My takeaways

I recently joined the Journaling Lounge at Sanity My main reason for joining was because they have weekly journaling prompts; questions for you to answer. I haven’t journaled regularly in 2 years and I wanted some help to get motivated and prompt me on topics to write about. This website and community is a GREAT resource for those who journal. Carla is an amazing help! I found her on Twitter and began following her. She replies to your tweets, which is a huge plus in my book!

As part of my membership I was invited to attend a virtual retreat on January 21st. The topic was “Get out of YOUR way; Stepping Forward in the face of yourself”. I was incredibly excited to join the call and see what I could learn. I took notes over the entire thing and I wanted to share them with you. It’s no secret that I am a knowledge sponge. I like to pass that knowledge I’ve learned onto others. If it helped me, it can help others! Here’s my takeaway from the retreat!

As we got started, Carla asked for some participation during the call. I immediately felt uncomfortable; journaling is a very private matter to me. In the past I’ve opted to share my journaling with my significant other. My husband respects my privacy and doesn’t care to read my journals. As such, I’m starting to feel thankful that it’s all private, even from my best friend. So…participation requested was nerve wrecking for me! But I agreed that it was best to participate and share when requested. Maybe my input could help someone else on the call.

We started off by talking about some of Carla’s basic life principles: Living life to the fullest. Living your life with love, creative energy and perseverance. Taking your life from surviving the thriving. I really took that last statement to heart. I’ve recently been taking an inventory on my feelings and I’m starting to learn that I let small things affect me much more than I should. I feel happy a lot, but I’m realizing that I have an issue with almost everything. Why? Life is good, isn’t it? It could be far worse, right?

She then spoke of a story called ‘Acres of Diamonds’. A basic summary of this story tells of this farmer who had acres and fields of crop. He wanted to be rich so bad that he sold his entire farm and sought to travel the globe in search of his riches. He searched and searched, but never found his wealth. He searched for so long he eventually became poor and killed himself. The man who purchased his farm had been digging in the fields and found a diamond. After digging and digging he discovered acres of diamonds and he was rich. Ironic story, isn’t it? So I’m thinking of the moral of this story. The diamonds are my happiness. Am I going to search my entire lifetime for happiness, or am I going to look for it with what I have? I bet you can guess my answer J

Stepping Forward in the Face of Yourself

We then looked at what “stepping forward in the face of yourself” means. Often we are our biggest reason for holding back. This could be for a number of different reasons: self-censorship, self-doubt, just plain not feeling like it, etc. Why do we let these things hold us back? We are ultimately in control…so we have the power to change it!

Stepping Forward in the Face of Yourself means to:
-Cheer yourself on
-Celebrate your successes
-Have a blast making successes and celebrating them
-Step into overwhelm, challenge to change things in the face of something greater

Make Goals

One of the things we can do to make this happen is to make goals. The key to accomplishing goals is to state them in a way that is exciting to you. Your goals should inspire you, not drag you down. How can you word your goals so you’ll show up for them?

An example would be:

I need to journal more often. “Journal more often” is not very defined and it sounds like a chore. So I might reword it like this “Investigate thoughts on paper. Unleash my inner conversation.” Etc

You need to make your goals fun, inspiring, desirable to keep them easier to show up for. Use new words or fun labels. Combine things you love in with your goal. Where is the fun factor? A good process for goal-setting:
1) Set goals- make them fun! Make them inspiring!
2) Set structures to support your goals (prepare to step above the voice in your head)
3) Write down your goals and put them where you will see them
every day
4) Check in with yourself often and when YOU need
Where are you going? What’s working? What’s not working? What needs to change?

Some of us may not have a specific goal or isn’t sure what really inspires us. Carla suggested asking yourself some of the following questions to help find this “burning desire”:
-What lifts you up?
-What inspires you?
-What makes you the happiest?
-What is your soul food? What do you do for yourself?

As I was reviewing some old journals of mine I realized that I needed some help with my burning desire. I recruited the help of my closest friends and family for their help. I sent them a little survey that asked the following questions.
-At what point do you remember me at my happiest?
-List some qualities I had at this time
-List some of the things that you know made me happiest or that I enjoyed
-If you could do anything nice to make my day, what would it be?
-If you could see me do anything for myself to make my own day, what would it be?

This may sound silly, but sometimes we’re too involved in our own minds and lives that we can’t separate our inner self with what’s going on around us. I found this exercise incredibly helpful at the time! Ask these questions and review the answers. Are they all common? It’s reflective and helpful! Make a list of your qualities. Make a list of things that make you happiest! Do them again! Some of these might be when we were a child….but it’s okay to enjoy these things as an adult. After all, we need to nurture our inner-child. What better way to do it?

Changing Behaviors-Create Interruption

Do you act on your feelings? Or do you act on honoring your commitments?

In the example above I used my goal to journal more often. Do I journal “more often” to honor my commitment to myself? Or do I journal when I feel like it? Right now, I journal when I feel like it…and that’s why I’ve had a gap for the past 2 years. Honoring your commitment to yourself means keeping those promises regardless of how you feel that day.

Many times this “feeling” of not wanting to honor those commitments comes from your self-talk within. How do you change that nasty negative talk into something positive?
-Your self-talk is loud and convincing at times; plan that it will be. It won’t go away; but you can change how you react to it.
-Minimize the negativity! When this self-talk comes up, say something positive back. Speak to your negativity.
-This negative talk is a broken record; it’s usually the same negativity over and over again. Create new music!
1) Start by noticing the negative self-talk and listen to the conversation
2) Bring humor to it- name your negativity (similar to how Beyonce has named her alter-ego)
3) Practice not responding to it
4) Start questioning it- ask yourself “Is that really true?”
5) Offer a rebuttal-talk back to it!
6) Write it all out- journal!
7) Reframe it-tell yourself something new

Just ask yourself: What evidence am I collecting: why I can’t? or why I can?

Another helpful tactic that Carla taught us was to have pep-talks with yourself. What would your ultimate pep talk include? Write it out! Keep giving yourself pep talks and believe them! Or, you can ask someone to give a pep talk to you. Make sure you tell them what you need to hear.

Setting Yourself Up with Success
Some random reminders and suggestions to keep you moving forward

Give yourself a place to dream! Your dream is not crazy! It’s absolutely achievable!

Use positive affirmations; even when you don’t believe them.

We have a tendency of gravitating towards negativity or drama (aka-the sewage). Get out of the sewage!

What structures keep you in action? What are your no matter whats? (things you must accomplish for the day no-matter what). Pick 3-6 things each day and make sure they get them done.
(see for the planner we get this idea from)

Just remember- hold yourself accountable. Help someone else be accountable! Get out of your head and get into action!

Hear all about Sanity Journals, The Journaling Lounge and Carla here:

Is the glass half empty, or half full?


Teresa and Brian said...

Wonderful! Thank you for the inspiration and motivation!!

Kristin said...

You are truly inspiring Laura!! I might even join up and start journaling as well (once I get my homework and work in order)!