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Look with love

We have been taught to search for faults, to find the shortcomings not only in ourselves but in others. This is unfortunate for many reasons.

By focusing on “what’s wrong,” we lose the opportunity to turn towards ourselves and those around us with acceptance and compassion. Reflecting upon innate worth opens doors to love and learning.

Through awareness, we can identify what makes us human. This shared humanity is what is most deserving of kindness and respect. Cultivating gratitude and realistic appreciation of self and others can be challenging — but comes with big payoffs.

For today, begin by regarding yourself with kindness. Write down ten sentences that represent who you are and the gifts you provide to the world. Think about the ways in which your life is enriched by these traits and observe any feelings of gratitude that arise as you complete this exercise.

I am adventurous and enjoy challenges.

I am a creative individual who contributes thoughtfully to my world.

I am a brave leader who has tried initiatives few others have dreamed of.

I am a considerate friend and reach out to those I care about.

I am generous and give mindfully to others.

I am disciplined and complete goals I set out for myself.

I am energetic and sincere.

I am a compassionate person who is willing to consider the worldview of other people.

I am trustworthy and keep my word.

I am loving and passionate, dedicated and accepting.

After writing your sentences, take time to review each statement.

Let me know how it goes @redheadlefthand.

Bookmark your dreams

Many years ago, a coach gave me an assignment that changed my life.

Write down 50 – 100 things you’d like to do.

My original list contained almost 90 items, goals ranging from learning to tie a necktie to finishing a marathon. I revisit this list from time to time. It has served as a guidepost for sorting out impulse and helping me decide whether my choices are circumstantial or made with intention.

It’s impossible to forge ahead if you don’t have a direction. (I didn’t always know this.) When you focus your efforts, you’re much more likely to get it done.

Step 1: Make time

Mark your calendar and commit. Set aside one undisturbed hour in a space you feel comfortable.

Step 2: Write

While writing your list, let yourself play and dream. Don’t pause to question. Don’t edit. Just write.

Step 3: Bookmark

Place your list someplace safe so you can return to it and reassess whether these goals are where you’d like to concentrate your energy. It’s never “too late” to dream.

Modified from Dream Chasers, posted December 2012.

Now is the time to think about the Connection Economy — and your role in it (a free workshop)

Seth Godin dubbed the phrase “Connection Economy” to encourage meaningful relationships that inspire art, community efforts, and the pursuit of worthwhile work.

Right now it’s easy to feel stuck. It’s more important than ever before to be kind and present and approach others with consideration and respect.

We live in a moment in which the internet spreads information quickly (for better and for worse). We can use this to our advantage to help each other.

Task 1. Build a group

You want people who can call you out, people who can serve as your cohort and personal sounding board as you make moves (or sit on the coach and try to find a new Netflix series). We all have unique talents and traits to share; a group offers support, accountability, and the ability to help you level up. These people can let you know when you’re on track and nudge you gently should you veer off course.

Whether one other person or four, enlist a few friends. Ask, “Will you try something with me?”

Task 2. Designate a time

Set a day and time and commit. Make the details known.

Everyone is struggling with responsibilities, house work, inner battles. Make each other a priority and respect everyone’s time. You can choose to meet once a week or on Mondays and Fridays, for example.

Task 3. Finalize your reading list

You can find many books online. I’ve listed a few here as suggestions. If you have a book that has been important to you, use that one instead.

Sample list:
Linchpin
Poke the Box workbook
Superconnect
Business Model Generation
E Myth Revisited
4 Hour Work Week
Creatively Independent
Make Your Idea Matter
Host an unforgettable dinner party

Task 4: Put it into practice

The activities are designed to get you out of your comfort zone and reinforce what you’re reading. If you feel inspired to add your own twist, please do. The most important action is to set aside time for writing.

The writing prompts provide creative direction. Use what is helpful and change what isn’t. Not everything works for everyone.

FIRST MEETING

Reading: Bernadette Jiwa’s Make Your Idea Matter
Project: Tear out photos, images, and words from newspapers and magazines. Look for anything that inspires you. Rearrange the clippings onto a new piece of paper.
Writing exercise: Set your alarm for ten minutes and choose one prompt:

  • Imagine your dream life. Write down everything it entails. It doesn’t need to be complete sentences or thoughts, words are fine.
  • Write a series of questions. Every question you can think of. They don’t need to make sense, and you don’t need to have the answers. Just ask.

Group discussion: What is the difference between storytelling and dreaming? Do you set aside time to dream? What are some of the stories you tell yourself about yourself?

SECOND MEETING

Reading: Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Work Week
Project: Do something new. Cook a different recipe. Sign up for an online class. Find a new place to explore using Google Maps.
Writing exercise: If you could do anything, anywhere, what would it be?

Group discussion: How do you define work/life balance? Is a distinction necessary? What helps you set better boundaries between work and home?

THIRD MEETING

Reading: Seth Godin’s Poke the Box workbook
Project: Print out the workbook and try to complete it in thirty minutes.
Writing exercise: Notice areas of hesitation while you complete the workbook. Is a particular topic more challenging than others?

Group discussion: What stops you from shipping? How do you get in your own way?

FOURTH MEETING

Reading: Project Exponential’s Host an unforgettable dinner party
Project: Plan an online dinner party. Get creative.
Writing exercise: Set your alarm for ten minutes. Choose one:

  • What are the traits you admire in others?  What are the traits you’re most proud of in yourself?
  • Assemble an imaginary Dream Team. You get five players. Who do you choose? What skills do they bring to your team?

Group discussion: What kind of people belong on your Dream Team? Who inspires you? Discuss how teams are formed and which environments contribute to their development.

FIFTH MEETING

Reading: Jess Pillmores’s Creatively Independent
Project: Challenge yourself to write the first draft of your very own ebook.
Writing exercise: Consider the uniqueness that you bring to your work, your relationships, and your family. What are the traits that single you out?

Group discussion: How do you stay inspired? What techniques have you found to be helpful during the goal setting process?

SIXTH MEETING

ReadingE Myth Revisited and/or Business Model Generation
Project: Brainstorm how you might turn $10 into $100.
Writing exercise: Write out a sample business plan. What would you do if you had no excuses, no responsibilities? Think back to the days of mowing lawns, selling lemonade, or babysitting.

Group discussion: How would things be different if you set aside time to write, dream, explore, or learn?

Modified from A Free Program posted February 26, 2013.

The best gift you can give yourself

Time.

You owe it to yourself.

Give yourself time.

Time to create, to explore, to dream, to vision, to get lost, to do nothing, to write, to play, to imagine, to be alone, to be with others, to meditate, to feel inspired, to remember, to reflect, to forgive, to move on, to set goals, to change, to grow, to rest.

Ten minutes a day at minimum.

An hour for yourself each weekend at best.

Schedule it.

Not only is time the best gift you can give yourself, but your families and communities will be better for it.

Who is glamorous?

Glamour isn’t limited to the rich or famous. And it certainly isn’t restricted to fashion, the latest gadgets, jet-setters, or a particular brand of car.

In fact, glamour is essential to attracting what you want, both in business and in life. Infusing your life with glamour brings more serendipity, more passion, and a lot more fun.

What is glamour?

Glamour is mystery. It is grace. It is an energy that requires courage and an element of risk. Glamour demands that you see yourself — and the world around you — as limitless. That each day you walk out the door and wonder what might happen. That you look for opportunity, instead of focusing on lack.

Glamour is desire. And desire leads to stories, surprise, and magic. These things often accompany happiness. Happy people are magnets.

Can I become glamorous?

First you must decide the kind of life you want. And then you must take steps to make it happen.

  1. Weave excitement into your day. Set freshly cut flowers onto a windowsill, crack open a bottle of Chianti, handwrite a note of gratitude, spritz your briefcase or backpack or bag with an energizing scent…
  2. Add mystery. Share enough to intrigue and inspire others, but don’t give too much away. Save some for yourself.
  3. Prioritize details. Edit your life as necessary. Remove excess.
  4. Limit stress. Cultivate calm.
  5. Get intentional. Surround yourself with new ideas, art, creativity, and uplifting conversations.
  6. Be bold. Declare who you are, set your own trends, and let your unique appeal shine.
  7. Fall in love. Find something to fall in love with. Every day. People who are in love are captivating. People who love life inspire others to do the same.
  8. Celebrate. Find reasons to celebrate, no matter how “trivial” they might seem.

Life will be as magical or as dull as you allow it to be.

H/T Tonya Leigh

Fight fire with water

Stop fighting and relax. Instead of trying to confront obstacles head on, look for ease. Can you infuse confrontations with love? Bring fluidity into challenging situations? Maybe you feel stuck. Sometimes desired outcomes happen as a result of less effort, not more.

When you’re feeling the heat at work or at home, weave cool and refreshing resources into the mix. More fire just adds more flames.