#33: You are a raging success!

#33: You are a raging success!

If you’re like me, you’re pretty quick to remind yourself of all the terrible things you’ve done. I like to ruminate on past mistakes, bad decisions, social gaffes and lapses in judgment.

But how often do you sit around and thoughtfully muse on all you’ve accomplished?

Let’s give it a shot today. Because regardless of where you are in life, you’ve accomplished some spectacular things. Private successes are just as important. It doesn’t matter whether you were Employee of the Month or you made a bang-up Banana Bread. You’ve done something notable.

One of my friends told me she hadn’t accomplished anything noteworthy while I was sitting there looking at photos of her three kids. Hello?! You MADE THREE NEW HUMANS and safely got them to adulthood! How is that not an accomplishment?

Get out that journal and turn to a blank page. At the top, in big bold letters (feel free to use a sharpie or sparkles) write:

  • “I have succeeded at…”

Write for at least ten minutes. List it all: perfect hospital corners, a scary speech, a B+ in organic chemistry, a half-decent novel, a pot roast to die for.

Now flag that page so you can come back to it. Add items as you think of them — or as you accomplish them! When you’re feeling low or incapable, just turn to that page and marvel over your own ability.

You are potent, powerful — a raging success. And don’t you forget it.

#32: Why is this so complicated?

#32: Why is this so complicated?

Why do we humans make everything so complicated?

I’ve been ruminating on that one quite a bit this week. It’s an epidemic; I see it at work, at home, online, in conversations, in media messaging. The more layers of convolution the better, it seems.

It’s time to put an end to all that. Simplifying is all about discovering what is truly important, and letting the rest slide.

This week in our journals, let’s work with the theme of simplicity. Here are some journaling prompts to give you a jump start:

  • What in my life is begging for simplicity? What would that look like?
  • What is needlessly complicated in my relationships? How would simplifying them affect their quality?
  • What do I wish I could get rid of (physically or metaphorically)?
  • What would my day look like if I were able to cultivate simplicity?
  • … my conversations?
  • … my friendships?
  • … my job?
  • What purpose does complication serve in my life? Does it distract me from the tougher issues that are uncomfortable to face? Or is it a lack of organization?

As always, be gentle with yourself and approach the prompts in an attitude of compassionate exploration. Compassion itself is simple.

#31: Do you need a clean slate?

#31: Do you need a clean slate?

A few weeks ago, I got a new MacBook. When my new computer arrived, it was intoxicatingly empty.

The documents folder was untouched. The sticky notes were blank. The iTunes library devoid of music. Just this sparkly workspace, glossy and bright.

It was a totally clean slate.

There were no “undone” things on this computer. My obsessive sticky notes detailing a variety of To Do lists. Unfinished drafts, lists of ideas that were starting to feel like guilty obligations. There were no photos of exes, no mixes made for an outgrown time and place.

I felt… free.

So free, in fact, that I decided not to restore all the files I had archived from my previous computer. I put the files into storage so I wouldn’t sully up my fresh new start.

It reminded me of how I felt moving to a new city. No routines, no obligations, no habits yet. I felt like I was on vacation. The possibilities were endless.

And I began to realize the power of the clean slate.

So much of what we accumulate – habits, opinions, relationships, stuff – builds up after awhile. We do it because we always have. Because it’s what we were doing yesterday. We may forget to ask ourselves if it’s working, if it’s what we really want.

But a clean slate frees us from all that. It allows us to look at the world as fresh and new. We are not bogged down in regrets and obligations. We are free to choose a new path.

Sometimes that path is the same one we were on. Sometimes it’s totally different. Either way, it’s up to us.

Creating a clean slate gives us freedom of choice again.

The clean slate is invigorating, whether applied to your goals or your wardrobe. Some clean slates to try:

  • a purged email inbox with 0 messages (yes, it’s possible!)
  • a new bank account to make your financial goals happen
  • a fresh To Do list with no “undone” things
  • a blank social calendar with room for stuff that really excites you
  • an empty refrigerator ready to be stocked with your new commitment to health

Think about your life – your habits, your belongings, your goals, your relationships. Get out your journal and ask yourself:

  • Where in your life do you need a clean slate? What would that look like? How would it make you feel?
  • Where do you feel stuck or overwhelmed? How could starting fresh help you move forward?
  • Is there some area of your life that could benefit from a blank canvas?
  • How would you feel if you could just start fresh?

It’s liberating. Give it a shot.

#30: Inspiration in all the wrong places

#30: Inspiration in all the wrong places

We usually see negative events and challenging circumstances as a bad thing. Is it possible that they could be a good thing, too? The more I journal about this, the more I become convinced that we can find inspiration in unlikely places.

The post Negative Inspiration + Silver Linings explores this topic in depth.

Keeping with this theme of “negative inspiration,” this week’s journaling prompt is a little, shall we say, inverted.

A tricky way to get yourself to journal about stuff you know you need to address but don’t want to is to use the prompt:

  • “I don’t want to write about…”

It’s a sneaky way around your conscious mind, which is protecting you from perceived harm. It’s the secret door into your subconscious, where the stuff you really need to write about lurks.

Give it a try and see if it works for you.

#29: I’m your biggest fan

#29: I’m your biggest fan

Lately I’ve been journaling a lot about the power of community and I’d like to share some of my discoveries with you.

I’ve heard it said in many personal development circles that we become more like the people we surround ourselves with. Some white coats have even done scientific studies on it — turns out it’s true. The good news is we have even more reason to be picky about who we spend time with. Look around you. Ask yourself if these people are going in a direction that you’d like to go. It’s a hard question. Ask it anyway.

Who’s Your Biggest Fan?

I consciously choose to spend time only with people who energize me and support what I do. I don’t have time or energy for Naysayers in my life. As soon as a Naysayer makes herself heard, she’s out of the band. I call these Naysayers “emotional vampires” because they drain my inspiration and energy — my lifeblood — when I’m around them. Naysayers say things like, “That’s impossible.”Or, “You’ll never be able to do that.”Or, “Why bother?”

My response: “See that door? Now walk through it.”

Knowing how susceptible we are to the society we keep, it’s important to choose company wisely. We only want to spend time with supportive people who bring out the best in us. (Exceptions include the required in-laws and co-workers; sometimes we have to just pay our dues.)

Journaling can help you surround yourself with adoring fans and folks supportive of your hopes and dreams. Here are some prompts to get you started:

  • Who makes me feel most like myself?
  • Who supports what I do? How do they show it?
  • Who brings out the best in me? What does that look like?
  • Who energizes me?
  • Who encourages me to dream big?
  • Who am I a fan of? How can I communicate that to them in a supportive, meaningful way?

Take note of how you feel after spending time with a certain person. Write these observations in your journal while they’re still fresh. Do you feel energized and inspired? Or drained and downtrodden? Keep a list of your high-energy friends. Make a conscious effort to spend more time with them and less time hanging out with vampires.

Thanks a million for being a part of my community! I intend to fill you with ongoing inspiration and energy. I’m your biggest fan.