I was sitting with my hubby (then boyfriend) on the grass at a folk festival. We were in undergrad! The sky was a clear bright blue, and we were listening to some exceptional live music. I could smell the grass and the patchouli of a passerby. I was in love, and the world was all right with me. I remember “making a memory” in my mind. I paid attention with all five senses, I captured that feel good moment and to this day, I pull it up whenever I need a pick me up. The key is to notice how you feel when you make your memory.
The technique as I later discovered is called “Savoring” - you know when you taste something extraordinary, and you close your eyes and pay full attention so that you can hold on to the joy of your taste buds dancing. Savoring counteracts your brain’s natural tendency to pay attention to, and remember negative experiences much more than positive ones.
Who’s Your Daddy?
This natural negativity bias is why you remember traumatic events first. FEAR is like a neon yellow highlighter for the brain. The brain sees its survival based on paying particular attention. Our ancestors could make two kinds of mistakes:
1. Thinking there was a tiger in the bushes when there was not one (so checking frequently, focusing on the bush, negatively predicting the future)
2. NOT thinking there was a tiger in the bushes when there was one.
Which one was more deadly? Yes, the second. So we evolved from the ancestors who made the 1st mistake a thousand times. We still make the 2nd one, but not as much, like gamblers who take significant risks. They tend not to perceive danger when it is there.
Naturally Negative Nellies
In general, the default of the brain when left on its own is to OVER estimate threats, and UNDER estimate resources for coping with our lives. There are even regions in the brain designed to prevent the unlearning of fear, especially from childhood. Who Knew? We are naturally negative Nellies! That is why it is imperative that you understand this concept and make all efforts to steer your brain in the direction of paying attention to good stuff.
Becoming a Connoisseur of Fine Memories
Is 'Making a Memory' or 'Savoring' simply being grateful or appreciating the moment? It is - but with an added layer of paying full attention to the moment with all five senses, and making a point of locking in the memory and the feeling. These days when you are accustomed to having your brain leap from thing to thing, you will have to keep bringing it back to your five senses, and the particular moment you are savoring. So that at the end of a day when you are asked; “How was it today?” you can pull back up those finer moments and hopefully override all of the naturally negative things that were present as well. The photo is from my savoring moment today, noticing the warmth of the sun on my skin, the sound of the robins, the smell of newly cut grass, the taste of good coffee, the sight of the buds on the fir and my feeling of “all is right with the world.”
Cheer! Happy Savoring!!
I would love to hear how your “Savoring” is going for you. Kindly comment below.
PS: Contact me if you are interested in more of this kind of Master Your Mind for Success work. I am currently creating an online program that teaches you to do more of this!
Until next time; be passionate!
You read 175 newspapers each day!
As I read Organized Mind by Daniel Levitin, I realize that we are dealing with a whole new level of stuff as well as bits and bytes coming at us. Each of us processes the equivalent of 175 newspapers each day in information!! Holy jumpins Batman!! Every status update, tweet, text message or e-mail, etc. competes for resources in your brain just like all of my stuff competes for space in my home office!!
One person at a time, please!
What is the cost of having to process and filter all of this information?? We have trouble separating the crap from the things that matter and all that information processing makes us exhausted!! We can ONLY pay attention to about 120 bits of information per second no matter how sexy those bits are! This means we can barely understand two people talking to us at the same time.
Multi-tasking is a diabolical illusion!
Our poor brains evolved to deal with life in the hunter-gatherer era of our history and so can only focus on one thing at a time!! I know you believe you can multi task especially if you are a woman. That's because you have been doing it all your life; breastfeeding while mowing the lawn, applying a full face of makeup while driving gear shift and yelling at the kids in the back seat. :-) Truth be known, our attention is a limited capacity resource no matter who you are! Sorry my Amazon warrior sisters, multi- tasking is a diabolical illusion and drops your I.Q. significantly!
We do not multi-task! We attentional switch - quickly moving back and forth between objects. If you are paying attention to one thing, it means you CANNOT pay attention to something else. But the reason we love the idea of getting lots done is that multi-tasking not only produces stress hormones and scrambled thinking, it also creates a dopamine addiction feedback loop that rewards your brain for going after any new shiny object, email, tweet, status update, etc.
If you are still convinced of your special multi-tasking powers, YouTube the famous experiment called basketball demo. Here's the link! It makes a great party trick as well!
Successful people focus on their passions!!
So what does all of this have to do with success and fulfilling your potential, which is what I am all about? Successful people are expert at categorizing the useful versus the distracting empty calories, quick fix tripe. Successful people focus on their Business and Core Passions; the things that matter most. They filter out anything that will distract them from their top 5 Passions. This kind of focus strengthens your brain (and your abs! just kidding) and gives you clarity and energy galore! Imagine where you would be if you had that kind of single-minded focus!
Attend my 'Business Bliss Breakthrough Program' or work with me one on one to discover your top five business passions as well as your top five core passions. Learning what your passions are will provide you with relief, which will turn into success because you now have a clear focus!
Leave a comment below or send me an email if you have any questions, I am here to help.
Someone once described me as a woman who lives “close to the surface,” which she pointed out was a double-edged sword.” Indeed!
Growing up in Trinidad where teasing is a national pass time, and everything is fair game, I had to develop tough skin, or become “buff proof.”
My neighbour was nicknamed “Bat” because of his big ears. If you were "ugly" people would call you a “boo boo.” Come to think of it there is even a famous Calypso dedicated to someone’s aesthetically challenged father. It’s called Mamma Look a Boo Boo Dey by calypsonian Lord Melody.
This song demonstrates our training as Trinidadians, to separate ourselves from the easy targets among us. I was affectionally called “tickness" which when translated is “thickness” and describes the way my body looked because I did not fit into the bikini beach culture in the post-Twiggy era.
No one and nothing was sacred.
JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF SKIN
How did I grow some extra skin so that I could leave my home with some measure of confidence? How did I make sure not to grow too much skin?
Remember, I still wanted access to my emotions so that I could feel empathy, joy, and happiness! After all, I was on a career path to become a psychotherapist.
It took some time, but I remembered exactly where I was when I learned this life-saving way of looking at myself. I call this everyday technique ‘Saving Your Skin.’ If you are a sensitive person like me, accept reality. Being a sensitive person in this world is like having allergy to dust and living in a dust bowl. You have to take special care and acknowledge that this allergy is a gift that makes you a powerful healer, and empathetic to others and creative.
STEPS TO SAVING YOUR SKIN
Here are the steps to “Saving Your Skin.”
1. When you feel pain/negative emotions, about either yourself or someone else, picture holes in your body where the pain comes in.
2. Check the pain for messages that pertain to you and your life.
3. Let the pain flow through you by way of those holes. If you are focusing on that pain (like probing sore gums with your tongue), or if something really gets to you, you may find yourself re-playing the “story” over and over in your head. This will cause you to puff yourself up on self-righteousness and the need for fairness. The best advice I can give you is that this behavior is toxic, and can also stop you from moving forward. Life is not ‘fair” in the way we think about it.
Eventually, when you make a decision to feel better (even though the pain and injustice have not gone away) try using a technique I call “Switching or Changing” my “somebody done somebody wrong song/story in my head.”
You catch yourself going over the story and then call “SWITCH” in your head. Do it firmly and several times as you will be breaking yourself out of a self-imposed trance.
I have my workshop attendees practice “switching” with a well-oiled story like Little Red Riding Hood or Goldilocks and the 3 Bears. Thank you, Mr. Swainey for this idea!! They find a partner and begin telling the story. Your partner yells out “switch” at many points along the way. The story changes…leading, ladies and gentlemen to a different outcome. Bingo!!
Try it. It is hysterical! The last time I did it, my Goldilocks turned into a dread-lock wearing, hip-hop singing, girl with fewer entitlement issues than our original Goldi who as you may recall, ate all of the porridge that was someone’s else’s, unapologetically.
I would love to hear how your “SWITCHING” is going for you. Kindly comment below.
PS: “Switching” is NOT to be used to get out of a healthy conscience or your truth telling.
PSS: Contact me if you are interested in more of this kind of Master Your Mind for Success work. I offer a weekend workshop that delves into the subject in depth!
Until next time; be passionate!
ARE YOU FEELING HOPELESS ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS OR YOUR LIFE?
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” ― Albert Einstein
Do you ever look at the results in your current business or life and feel hopeless? Do you look ahead at where you want to be and think, whoa...impossible, what was I thinking? Well, my suggestion is to Ignore Reality! Really. According to smarty pants, Einstein “Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.” If you are anything like me, you want to be everywhere! So how exactly does that work?
HOW TO BUILD A SIX PACK IMAGINATION WITH A ROCK SOLID CORE?
Let me start by asking you some questions about where you want to go in your business or your life?
1. Once you are even more successful - and happier - what will you be DOING that you are not doing now?
2. How will you BE different?
3. WHO will you be with?
4. WHOSE lives will you have touched/changed?
5. WHAT will they be saying to you?
6. HOW will you hold yourself differently?
This is how you begin to change your Self-Concept from the one who has the current results to the one who walks into the life of the imagined possibilities. If your image contains the dream of more money for example, what will you be doing with the money? What smells, sounds, tastes, textures, and colors are in the picture in your mind? Some kinesthetic people may not be able to form or keep a visual. If you are one of those, simply feel in your body what success or happiness is like for you.
FEEL IT, BABY!
For all of us, when we create that picture of success, the most important part of the equation is the positive emotion that we relish at the thought of the ‘dream come true.’ Smile, feel hopeful and happy, even elated at your imagined success!!!
If your big old doubting gremlin (i.e. negative doubting thoughts) (see the picture of my Gremlin Lulu above) rears her well-meaning but not so helpful head, pat her on the head, feed her a gremlin snack (Gremlins love black jelly beans) and use the words: “Thank you for your concern. Despite the fact that I am nowhere near where I want to be, at this moment I am allowed to feel as if I am already there.” See if you can sustain that feeling for at least 7 minutes while you color in the picture in your Imagine.
REFRESH YOUR IMAGINATION EVERY DAY!
It helps to have images of what your success looks like on a dream board or create your very own mind movie like I do in my workshops with participants. Each morning you refresh your mind and conjure up those images and that feeling.
It’s like taking a mental shower. But that’s not the hard part. It’s when you get down to business and people are not getting back to you, or they are saying ‘No thanks’ or they use someone else instead of you. Or when your personal life is going to hell in a hand woven hand-basket. You know THAT feeling. THAT attitude is based on logic, on the reality in front of you. THAT feeling is re-active. When you catch it...and that’s easy, because it does not feel right, that is your sign to use your will to move back to the picture in your mind, your Imagination. Find that good feeling there. Raise your Vibe. It takes vigilance and discipline.
YOU ARE NOT YOUR PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCES; YOU AR YOUR CURRENT CHOICES
The brain will default to worry and “facing” reality. Move towards being Pro-Active. You will be creating your future reality this way rather than allowing your future reality to be carved from the reactions of others. This is what Stephen Covey meant by “Begin with the end in mind.” You are not your present circumstances. You are your Choices. When your Gremlins point their fingers and tell you this is all a bunch of hogwash, reassure them, that Einstein and Picasso are smarter than any Gremlin will ever be!
“Everything you can imagine is real.” ― Pablo Picasso
Let me help you create a life and a business based on new choices, based on possibilities.
Sign up for my newsletter, and you will be notified about my upcoming webinar where we will delve deeper into the subject of your personal and business success!!
HOW ONE CONCERT CHANGED MY LIFE
My hubby and I were at an intimate show in a yurt in the small village of Enterprise. The music rocked but what I could not get out of my head was the story the artist shared. Juno award “loser” Peter Katz (his words, he lost the Juno to Feist) recalled for us how he was introduced to Canadian violinist Oliver Schroer on a road trip while listening to CBC radio and it changed his life.
Now, Oliver is changing mine. I hope you take the time to dig this guy, because even from the other side, he just may change yours.
This violinist who sported a powerful red goatee and some unusual haircuts, composed not only rigs and jeels but music that was close to God. His music will make you cry, but that is not what moved me to write this piece. That is not what is changing my life.
PLAY FULL ON
You will listen to his story about how his CD “Camino” was recorded over two months in 2004, as he and two friends walked the Camino de Santiago, an ancient trail that wanders across France and Spain.
He stopped in 25 churches along the way to play and record his violin on this musical pilgrimage. As you listen to his music, even if you don’t particularly love the violin, you will be moved as I was moved.
Now, lean in. Listen carefully. There’s more. He shared that didn't know if he would get kicked out of these churches when he began playing and recording, so he decided to play full on; no warming up. It looks like he also lived his life that way.
FIRE IT ALL UP
I began to wonder what my life would look like if I played from the middle, the crescendo, not the beginning or the end? I might stop making excuses to play my piece because you never know when you might get kicked out of the church.
As the story goes, when Oliver was told that his leukemia was terminal, rather than panic, he found himself at peace. He realized that he did not need to change anything; that he was doing exactly what he wanted to be doing with his life. “I’m one of the burning bright lights who fires it all up and then go down in flames.” This man walked his talk.
How might your life be even better if you were “firing it all up?” What else might be possible if you were doing even more of exactly what you wanted to do with your life? My God, the night sky would be filled with all of our burning bright lights. Skip the warm up. What are you waiting for?
Let me help you fire it up, live from the crescendo whether it is in your life or your business.
Sign up for my newsletter, and you will be notified of my upcoming webinar where we will delve deeper into the subject of your personal and or business success!
Sick and tired enough?
It was just yesterday, ☺, a few years ago, I was in my 20’s. I recall being taken aback when I told my psychotherapist I had had enough of a particular situation that was plaguing my life, that I was “sick and tired of the mess” and she argued that I had not! HUH?? She said I still had more “sick and tired” left in me. So much for empathy!!
I rallied. I explained that the reason I was still in the lousy situation, (it might have been a terrible job) was that I was afraid, didn’t she understand?? Wasn’t she going to give me the six secret steps to overcoming the fear so I could tackle my problem?! Apparently not.
I think I quit therapy! As it turns out, I now understand what she meant, grasshopper, and I see the same erroneous thinking stopping people from taking the leap to discover their work or core personal passions and live by them.
People confess: “What if I admit that I loathe my partner, have for years or have used up all my sick time and so now I am calling in dead to that awful job…or know there is more to my life, but I am afraid to do that thing, afraid to write it down, afraid to have witnesses, afraid of what people will think.
Congratulations on being afraid!
If you are scared, I am thrilled! Afraid of success in your business, afraid of failure, afraid of stagnation…congratulations!!! (So much for empathy!) ☺ Welcome that F-E-A-R. Ask it to have a seat. Give it a cup of coffee or a rum and coke.
It may sound strange, but I believe that FEAR is your doorway to Freedom!!! I will say that again. I believe fear is your doorway to Freedom! A wake-up call. Cuddle up with it!
Emotions are messengers with information. Fear can be useful! It tells you to get ready, to get your parachute in working order before you jump. Fear warns you not to jump alone and to have a backup tree you can land in if you parachute fails.
However, do not ever mistake the message that fear brings for one of complacency or an excuse to not do anything.
Let fear move you!
In fact, Fear is the Antidote to Staying in your Comfort Zone. If you are not afraid, then the thing you anticipate doing, being or having is not worth the risk.
Hover over your Fear with your mouse and transform it into Excitement. Be grateful for the feeling and watch it bloom into anticipation for what you can do as a woman in business. Let it MOVE you. It does not matter whether you are just starting out, have an idea for a business or have been in business for a while and are fearful of taking it to the next level. I am excited to help you transform that terror into Freedom!
Sign up for my newsletter, and you will be notified of my upcoming webinar where we will delve deeper into the subject of your success!
Why the Bad News Jo-ann?
As a serious student of human motivation, I know the science and statistics, and I have personally experienced the hype and crash of setting goals/resolutions and not achieving them. The first two weeks usually go along beautifully, but by February people are backsliding head first down that ski slope of false hope! And by next December most people are back where they started—often even further behind and feeling like Losers, and not the weight loss kind either.
You are Setting the Wrong Kinds of Goals/Intentions!
If I hear one more person advocating S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) goals, I will drink myself silly and start a revolution. Perhaps a megaphone and going door to door? Ok, how about this blog? Because the idea of SMART goals is popular does not mean it has been proven to work. In fact, we know these types of goals DO NOT work. Punto Finale! Peter Bregman, writing in the Harvard Business Review Blog Network, argues “When we set goals, we're taught to make them specific and measurable and time-bound. But it turns out that those characteristics are precisely the reasons goals can backfire. A specific, measurable, time-bound goal drives behavior that's narrowly focused and often leads to either cheating or myopia. Yes, we often reach the goal, but at what cost?” For example, in the past, before I was enlightened ☺, I set a SMART goal of losing 10 pounds by this particular date. That goal did nothing to change the behaviours that lead to the 10 lbs and come ‘Weigh-In Mondays’, you could be sure I took some pills that would cleanse my bowels Sunday night (cause crap weighs a ton), I did not drink water or eat before, and made sure to weigh in with clothes that were light and breezy! If that meant freezing my tush off in winter, so be it. I had a goal dammit!
Making resolutions work, involves changing behaviors, and to change a behaviour you have to change your thinking (or "rewire" your brain). Brain scientists have discovered, through the use of MRIs, that habitual behavior is created by thinking patterns that create neural pathways, which become the basis for your behavior when you're faced with a decision. Trying to change your thinking by "not trying to do it," in effect just strengthens it. Recall the adage: “What you focus on expands.” Change requires creating new neural pathways from new thinking. I recommend instead that you start thinking about Intrinsic Goals or Passions. These are goods of the Soul, like self-acceptance, physical fitness, ongoing learning, etc. The way to get to them is to ask yourself WHY you want to achieve that particular resolution or goal? Then continue to ask yourself, how will I think if I am physically fit, accepting of myself and so on. This thought pattern will lead to different behaviours and over time help develop new neural pathways. Become part of my revolution to overturn the SMART Goal/Resolutions Phenomena.
That’s it from my Passionate Perspective! If you want help in Discovering your Passions and changing your neural pathways, it’s what I do best! Contact me! I would love to hear from you!
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall?
During this time of fresh new year’s resolutions, you might be using affirmations to help you stick to those goals. Here is one definition I found on the internet. “Affirmations are proven methods of self-improvement because of their ability to rewire our brains. Much like exercise, they raise the level of feel-good hormones and push our brains to form new clusters of ‘positive thought.’” My response to that is bullocks - as my English friends like to say.
I was taught to write them on sticky notes and place them on the mirror, all over the house, in the car, wherever you might see them and repeat them over and over. The only reason this technique ever made me feel better was that the mirror was so filled with sticky notes I could not see myself!
Stop Damaging your Self Worth Already!
Psychology professor Peter Herman and his colleagues have identified what they call the "false hope syndrome," which means that the desired outcome of your affirmation is significantly unrealistic and out of alignment with your internal view of yourself. In non-psychobabble, when you make positive affirmations about yourself that you don't believe, the positive affirmations not only don't work, they can be damaging to your self-worth. For instance, when I tell myself as an affirmation that “every day in every way people look up to me and recognize my worth; I am admired” and I see no evidence of this, there is the voice in my head that will shout: “BS!” Then it will begin to list all the reasons why I am not admired or valued and cite evidence. Now I feel like flushing my head down the toilet. 'The Ego' likes to be right even at the price of happiness.
Affirmations that Actually Work
Instead, you need to pacify the firm voice of the ego before you state your affirmation so that it does not hurt you with a comeback. It’s the spoon full of Stevia that makes the affirmation go down in the most delightful way. Here are the phrases you must put in front of your affirmations. “Despite the fact that people don’t look up to and admire me yet, I am in the process of becoming a person people look up to.” No, come back, right? Let’s do another one. “In spite of the fact that I continue to eat copious amounts of cookies every day, I am in the process of including vegetables into my daily diet.” One more for the road, shall we? “Despite the one truth that I am upset and annoyed John, the other truth is that I am in the process of becoming more peaceful with all that has happened, is happening, and will happen.” Get it? I hope so.
Share with me what new improved affirmations you have come up with! And once you pair those with your passions for career and life and create your mind movie at my Ignite Your Business workshop or Personal Retreat, there will be no stopping you!!
Rich and Famous...???
I am a little disturbed to find out that most millennials want to be incredibly wealthy and famous. But then I recall my earlier dream boards tacked with photos of me with tons of money, and of course, in my dream of the future, I am a star, with a capital ‘S’!
In some people’s eyes, I already HAVE tons of money, and I AM a star. By other accounts, I may be “working” for the rest of my life.
…and then what?
When I crossed the 50-year yard line, I took a big step backward and took another look at my life and my goals and began to ask, “and then what?” When I have more money…what will I be doing differently? This is how I answered: “I will do only work I love, I will be more generous, I will have more time for walks and friends, I will spend time with my family in Trinidad each year, I will travel, see more theatre, live music, learn more about what I love, and I will dance.”
What will you be doing differently?
What will you be doing more of?
What will you be doing less of?
I decided I had enough...
The bottom line is that I had enough money, and it was now time to do all the things that I value, the things that I am passionate about. I also told myself that I have enough time now and that I needed to do my best daily to act as if that is true because each action, day in and day out, are what make up a life.
What is important in your life?
That is why when I take you through the Passion Test for your career or business, I will also bring you through your Personal Passion Test. I will help you identify what is important in your life, and what you value so that these things are in alignment and you are living happily NOW and not in some future when you imagine you will have more. I have worked with extremely wealthy people, and they are not necessarily happy. I have also worked with those that have tons of time to spare but no clear purpose as to how to “spend” it. A life of happiness takes more than time and money. All it takes is a decision.
Contact me at to find out how to step back, re-evaluate or discover your business and personal passions, and live a life of deeper purpose and meaning.
Why people buy...
As a business person, it is important for you to understand that only 35% of the reason people buy the products or services you offer, is because of the actual product or service itself.
The other 65% of the reason they buy, is because of what you can do or provide for your client beyond the product or service, and what that product or service does for your customer.
In other words, if you are trying to sell your clients and prospects products and services, you are wasting your time. They are only 35% interested in products and services.
Don’t Compete on Price!
But they are 65% interested in the benefits of having you involved.
You see, chances are good that your clients and prospects can buy the same product or service (or at least comparable ones) from any one of several of your competitors.
And with that product or service, your competitor may offer some additional advantages, as well.
They may have a lower price, a better quality product, some added bonuses or extra services, a location that’s more convenient, or a payment plan that fits their budget better.
In today’s tough, competitive market, it’s difficult to compete on price or product. You may be able to command an advantage for a particular period of time because you have a lower price than your competitors, but you and I both know that it will be short-lived.
The truth is, you will never be able to maintain a competitive position in the marketplace – long-term for any length of time because of the prices you charge or the products you provide.
It’ll just be a matter of time before either one of your competitors lowers their prices or duplicates (or even betters) your product, or you raise your prices because you no longer have the necessary margins to justify your prices.
They Want You!
But there’s one thing your clients can’t get from any of your competitors. And that’s YOU, and your empathy, the problem-solving expertise and the knowledge, education, and commitment to service that you bring to their particular and unique situation. As Usual, that’s how it looks from The Passionate Plan Perspective!!
Do you want to have that edge and find out AND be able to articulate your Unique Value? Contact me and get the Passionate Plan edge!
I love what I do! Facilitating workshops, retreats, speaking, working with people and organizations to help them live lives of passion and engage in meaningful work makes me want to sing and dance.
Subscribe to my newsletter