How ‘Commit 100% or You’re Not Serious!’ can cause you to fail

How ‘Commit 100% or You’re Not Serious!’ can cause you to fail

I’m lazy. I like things to be easy. If you tell me that in order to get healthy I need to go on an anti-inflammatory diet where I have to give up, well, let’s just say, food, I won’t do it. It’s too hard to stop tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, flour, dairy, sugar, pasta, bread, and everything else that makes life worth living all at once.

I will not do it. Not one bit of it—much less the whole shebang.

I balk like a stubborn mule. Do you have a mule?

Mules don’t like overwhelm.

How my Physical Therapist unwittingly used a Japanese strategy to deal with my mule

I recently engaged a Physical Therapist for a repetitive strain injury. Typically I left it until I couldn’t move my thumb at all and was in agony. He helped a lot with the recalcitrant thumb, but it was something else he showed me that you may find interesting.

We discussed a health problem I had had for several years that caused breathlessness and left me exhausted after even the smallest amount of exercise. I was terribly unfit as a result. And mule-like I didn’t like going 3 times a week to the exercise classes my doctor insisted on.

My PT taught me just one thing—how to breathe. I mean really breathe. Big gulping deep breaths for minutes at a time. All day. Whenever I thought about it. He persuaded me to buy a fitness watch that would beep to remind me to breathe.

Breathe. I can do that. It’s pretty cheap and very easy. The Mule in me didn’t notice.

Well, gentle reader; I’m here to tell you it got me off the couch. After a few weeks I had more energy and was using the treadmill for more than 2 minutes before collapsing. I even got in a swimming pool for the first time in 5 years.

All because of breathing? Yes.

One thoughtful change had worked better than all the expert advice from umpteen doctor/chiropractor/acupuncture/massage therapist appointments pooled together. Oh, and kick in a portable oxygen tank that I never used.

What my PT had done for me, albeit unconsciously, was mimic a Japanese system called Kaizen.

A little background here is interesting

Hang in there with me.

In the years following WW2 the Japanese were exhausted and defeated—their economy destroyed by the devastating effects of war. Japan was in dire straits, yet within 30 years bounced back with one of the strongest economies in the world.

American businessmen traveled to Japan to learn their secret and discovered that the Japanese employed a method called Kaizen to get back on their feet. It involved making itty-bitty changes—not big ones. They tackled their huge problems one tiny step at a time, one week at a time. It worked. Spectacularly well.

Kaizen literally means ‘incremental change, continuous improvement’.

Start with the smallest and practice the easiest.

How does this apply to me, I hear you cry?

Simply this. If you make small, seemingly insignificant, but thoughtful adjustments in your life, slowly but surely everything will start to improve.

What about, if instead of those huge monstrous dietary deprivations, you gave up just one thing for that flipping anti-inflammatory diet?  Let’s say sugar. Or pop drinks. Or cereal. Just one thing. Won’t kill you.

You can do that. Even I could.

Overly ambitious goals will trigger overwhelm and defeat. They don’t motivate.

Tiny changes will slip under the radar of the mule-mind.

So, let’s look at your goal or challenge

What is the smallest step you can take this week in relation to it? Can you do it for a week?

  • Treadmill for just 5 minutes a day?
  • Learn one Spanish verb this week and use it?
  • Give up sugar in your tea? See if you can stand stevia. Just for a week.
  • Don’t watch YouTube while you eat breakfast. (Not sure I can do that one. May be too challenging.)

Think tiny. Don’t go big. Think easy. Think small.

Ignore advice to ‘Go big or go home!’ ‘Go all in’, or ‘Make a 100% commitment if you’re serious! 98% is not good enough’. Bad advice.

Instead, go for 50% max. More or less willing to give it a go. What have I got to lose. Why not.

Next time you feel overwhelmed with an issue and all your myriad options, try Kaizen. You’ll be amazed. It’s unimpressive, dull, unspectacular, not at all sexy, but will get you results.

Let me know how you get on. I’m genuinely interested.

My approach to coaching is based on this philosophy. So if you want help getting that mule moving, or more info about Kaizen, contact me by replying to this email.

Easy and effortless beats difficult and challenging every time.

Fool that mule.

Cheers!
Margaret
Kaizen Coach and Mule Kicker Extraordinaire
margaretnashcoach.com

 

 

 

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The Attitude of Gratitude—Thoughts From a Seasoned Contrarian

The Attitude of Gratitude—Thoughts From a Seasoned Contrarian

As a Life-Coach I like things that work, that get results and help people make useful changes in their daily lives. And I’m especially impressed by how well one practice seems to work in shifting a self-pitying or complaining attitude into a more positive one.

I’m talking about the practice of gratitude; that is, writing or focusing on what you are grateful for in your life, rather than paying attention to what is going wrong. The attitude of gratitude seems to trump all others and when you are feeling grateful you cannot simultaneously feel resentful, angry, or sorry for yourself.

Kudos to it. It is an important point to remember, and does seem to help many feel better about themselves and able to cope with whatever life throws in their path.

However, sometimes I find myself, like the proverbial stubborn mule, balking at the word itself. I just don’t like the word gratitude very much and I think I know why. I’m sorry. I know this borders on sacrilege, so if you love it and it works for you, then stop reading this bit now and skip to the next section.

Here we go. For me gratitude always seems predicated by ought and should, as in, you ought to be grateful for your health/home/good income or you should be grateful for the food on the table. There are lots of starving children in Africa—sort of thing.

I’m so blessed, gushes the movie star from her Malibu home where she does yoga and meditation on the beach each morning while she sips her smoothie. The subtext is, I am the recipient of all these wonderful things that have somehow been bestowed on me and I am so thankful I am not like others.

Sound of teeth grinding.

Yes, I guess you would be. In the next breath she is saying in her L’Oreal ad that she gets to live this life and wear this makeup because I’m worth it. How does that work? Worth it? You mean you think you deserve it? Does that mean all who don’t have this stuff aren’t worth it? Are we all entitled to a house in Malibu? And how will she feel when she loses it all in bankruptcy or her next film is a failure? Still blessed?

Caveat here. I was never very good at what I should and ought to think and feel. I’ve always been one of nature’s rebels—cantankerous and bratty. And OK, a little catty at times.

Words That Work for Me

Back to the matter at hand. I am always casting about for words or phrases that take me away from either entitlement or victimhood. Words or phrases like gratitude and I’m so blessed but without the baggage.

There are lots of them: cherish, relish, not take for granted, appreciate, to name a few.

I really like appreciate. It carries no remonstrance or guilt-trip for me. It means more or less the same thing as gratitude, but with slightly different connotations. It is more about “valuing, noticing, being conscious of, or placing a high estimate on”. I like that. It’s good to appreciate things and people in your life.

But I don’t want it to feel like I’m thankful for being privileged when the rest of the world is not. Something feels ‘off’.

I don’t deserve anything any more than anyone else—trust me on this one.  I’m not especially worth it and I don’t feel I’m entitled to anything. But I can appreciate everything.

My Favorite Word

The other day I stumbled across another word that expresses similar feelings, but in a way I like even better. It made me tingle with recognition. It’s a well-known word, but not used all that often in everyday conversation.

This word was lurking in a book called Getting Stoned With Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu by J Maarten Troost. (How’s that for a title? I’m so jealous.)

It was recommended to me by my equally rebellious and curmudgeon-in-crime niece, so I couldn’t resist downloading it. (We’re in this together Sally. I won’t give you away.)

Here’s the quote. See if you can spot the word before I tell you what it is.

“For what is life, a good life, but the accumulation of small pleasures? In Washington, we lived in a place where everything was available, for a price, and yet I couldn’t recall the last time I had really savored something—a book, a sunset, a fine meal.”

There. There it is. Savored. That word just jumped off the page at me, daring me to ignore it.

Savor. That works better for me than gratitude. I want to savor life, everything about it, appreciate it, experience it, even the smallest of details.

Savor reminds me of chocolate—you put that truffle on your tongue and know you have to savor every moment of it before it disappears forever. You know it’s not a good idea to have another (well, maybe one more) or you will feel sick. But this first bite is just heaven and you want to enjoy it fully. When you savor something you totally appreciate it with all your senses.

I want to approach life like that. When I step out into my garden in the morning I want to savor the soft sunshine (unless I’m in England in which case I savor the rain and chilly breeze.) I savor looking at the trees and I savor watching my dogs playing. I know they won’t always be with me, like the chocolate, so I want to savor every tiny moment with them.

The Benefits From Nearly Dying

Eckhart Tolle, the great spiritual teacher and author, says he enjoys reading about near death experiences because it seems to be the closest any of us will come to proof of what happens when we die. Everything else is just speculation. He notes how, despite the differences in what is experienced or who people meet up with while journeying to the other side—Jesus, parents, Buddha, Yogananda, a spirit group, and a plethora of different scenes such as tunnels, beautiful palaces, brightly lit scenes from nature—everyone seems to come back with the attitude that all is well.

They also have a new perspective on life and most never again take anything for granted. They savor the life they have left. Every second. And are filled with purpose.

Ok, I guess they are grateful to be back in the land of the living, but strangely not always. Sometimes they resist being sent back, at least initially, because their experience of the afterlife is so incredibly blissful and interesting. And when they return everything is changed, different. They seem able to experience and enjoy life more than before. They’ve been given a second chance. They can accept whatever is happening. All is well.

Gary Zukav in his wonderful book, The Seat of the Soul, refers to this emotion as reverence for life. That’s another good word that resonates with me. He says,

“Reverence is simply the experience of accepting that all Life is, in and of itself, of value. If we perceived life with reverence, and understood our evolutionary process, we would stand in awe at the experience of physical Life, and walk the Earth with a very deep sense of gratitude.”

Oh, I know. He uses the G-word there. But it’s in reference to reverence. And I like the way he uses it, as acceptance. If I’m accepting life as it is, I’m not complaining or feeling sorry for myself. I’m grateful, and appreciative, and I don’t take anything for granted.

How about this idea: It always seems to be the ‘good’ things we are grateful for. How about being able to accept and flow with everything that happens to us, things we judge as both fortunate or unfortunate? We are truly blessed when we can enjoy everything in life—good and bad—and savor whatever weather greets us each day.

A Beautiful and Elegant Turn of Phrase

Not too long ago I was grousing to a friend about how the word gratitude didn’t work for me. She said, “Hold on, I heard a phrase the other day on YouTube, or a podcast, can’t remember where, and it makes a perfect mantra for you.”

“Try this; first thing when you wake up say, I am the essence of gratitude; when you step outside, say I am the essence of gratitude; when you go to sleep, say I am the essence of gratitude. At every moment in the day, when you remember, say, I am the essence of gratitude. You don’t have to say what you are grateful for, unless you feel like it, or to whom, just that you embody gratitude. See if that works for you.” (Thanks for this Sharyn. I’m eternally grateful!)

Well, it does work. It’s a powerful mantra. I recommend you say it, all day, all the time, for everything, and every experience, without judgment. It completely reframes the idea of gratitude for me. It takes it away from objects to be thankful for, like the Malibu beach home and big bank account, and expresses an appreciation for simply being alive.

So I guess the word doesn’t really matter as long as it takes you to a place that feels empowering and significant. Who cares what the word is if it is life enhancing?

This works.

I want to savor, reverence, walk the Earth with a very deep sense of gratitude, and enjoy every moment, taking the good with the bad. Just as if I had been given a new lease on life—a second chance. That seems to me to be what living my purpose and following the trail of my spirit is all about.

 

(Excerpt from my soon to be published book on finding life purpose, called Follow the Trail of Your Spirit—The Search for Life Purpose by Margaret Nash.)

If you find the ideas in this article interesting you may like some personal life coaching on getting your life to work the way you want it to.

Contact margaretnashcoach@gmail.com for personal coaching in San Miguel or online coaching from anywhere in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Are You Living Your Best Life?

Are You Living Your Best Life?

The other day I was fooling around on YouTube, wasting time as usual, looking for something to entertain and distract me from doing anything productive. I frequently find subjects (sometimes bizarre!), that hold my interest for a period of time before I move on to something new.

Lately I had been intrigued by a plethora of videos on van life. All about people of no fixed abode who live in vans—mobile homes, RVs (recreational vehicles), motorhomes, campervans, even converted school buses. Minimalist, nomadic, traveling and on the move all the time, sleeping in national parks, Walmart parking lots, or simply parked on residential streets.

Don’t get me wrong; it does not appeal to me at all, but I’m fascinated by the idea of living that way—so different from my own stable lifestyle. They have communities, tribes. They keep in touch with each other, make videos, and meet up in designated areas. They are always on the move. Many work online and spend a lot of time in Starbucks making money on their computers.

Van lifers take great pride in the fewness of their belongings, are well organized, clean, and Spartan. They value independence and a sense of freedom. They are their own bosses and no one dictates how they spend their time.

But it’s hard! And you have to be constantly cleaning, tidying, looking for places to stop and camp for the night, vigilant about potential dangers most of us don’t ever consider. Pros and cons, in other words.

“Freedom’s just another word for nothing else to lose….”

A Young Man Tells His Tale of Van Life

This particular day I came across a video made by a young man in the US, in his 30s, who had sold up everything and taken to the road with his small home. He loved it.

And his story about why he had chosen this life was interesting. (I would love to share the link, but I’m sorry I lost it and can’t seem to find it.)

This is his story. Years before, his father, whom he loved deeply, had been planning for a long time to get out on the road and live his life free and independent in a van. He had spent his working life at a job that earned his keep and fed the family, but wasn’t his joy or passion. He longed to retire, hit the road and really start living his life. He had his pension, his wife had died years earlier, and the kids were grown and settled. It was his time.

He sold his home, bought his dream RV, and set out in the direction of Yosemite. The mountains! Nature! Freedom!

A few months into his journey he dropped dead of a heart attack. Gone. His stunned and grieving son decided to live the life his father had missed. He didn’t want to wait until he was 65 to live his dream. What was he waiting for?

So he took the little RV and made it his home.

At first he found it hard and missed the stability of normal life but after a while embraced his Inner Gypsy and settled in to his new transient lifestyle. He made friends. Wonderful friends. He developed a thriving online business. He began to love his life passionately. His parting words on the video really struck me; he said what really made it all worthwhile was that despite being tough and challenging, at the end of the day he could look back with satisfaction and feel it was a day well spent’.

Wow. A day well spent. Those words hit me like a Mack truck. Aren’t we all looking for this? Don’t days well spent turn into weeks, and months, and years, and finally, a life well spent? Isn’t this what it’s all about?

It seems like the search for purpose and meaning really boils down to these few words—wanting to feel your time is well spent. And while striking to see in a young man, it usually becomes more important as we get older, retire, kids leave home, and we begin to be aware that our time on this planet is limited. We simply want to feel we are spending it in the best way possible.

Do you feel you are spending your time well? Is what you are doing satisfying? Fulfilling a purpose? Meaningful, interesting, and challenging?

If not, what are you waiting for?

 

 

(Excerpt from my soon to be published book on finding life purpose, called Follow the Trail of Your Spirit—The Search for Purpose by Margaret Nash.)

If you find the questions in this article challenging you may like some personal life coaching on finding your best life and how to insure it’s well spent.

Contact margaretnashcoach@gmail.com for personal coaching in San Miguel or online coaching from anywhere in the world.

 

Also, look out for our workshop Thrive Through Transition being held next week in San Miguel. Details below.

 

 

Like what you just read? Sign up for free email updates. You’ll get a free copy of my ebook Sacred Cow Alert - 5 New Age Myths that May be Killing All Your Relationships!

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Caught In the Doldrums? Here’s a Way Out

Caught In the Doldrums? Here’s a Way Out

I woke up the other morning feeling out of sorts. Not depressed exactly, just a feeling of restlessness, as if something wasn’t right.

Nothing especially negative going on in my personal life: dogs were well, husband happily preoccupied with his stuff, I could lose a few pounds and exercise more, but hey, what’s new?

So I had a good hard look at work. Ah, oh yes. Very clear what’s happening.

May/June in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where I live, is typically the hottest, driest time of the year, so the town just clears out while most of the ex-pats head to the beach or back to the homeland. My usually busy client schedule emptied overnight. From having to juggle where to book people one week to zero the next, I was somewhat disconcerted. Either they had all left town or they all decided en masse they hated me. I’m banking on the former. Either way, my calendar was pretty spartan all of a sudden.

Plus my business and training partner had left town for a month, so no workshops planned, friends had fled, and I had been revamping my books, they weren’t ready, so no books to advertise or work on for the moment. I seemed to be in a state of waiting, my normally busy life on hold.

In other words, things had ground to a halt, or to use a better metaphor, I was in the doldrums!

I love the origin of the term in the doldrums

Do you know where this term comes from? Bear with me. It’s quite illuminating.

The word doldrum means dull and slothful. To be in the doldrums is an archaic maritime term, which refers to certain areas in the ocean near the equator. These areas are hot and humid and the wind can sometimes disappear completely, trapping sailing boats for periods of days or weeks on end. It was a sailor’s nightmare.

Kind of like San Miguel right now. This boat was stalled.

These areas were nicknamed the doldrums by 18th century sailors, because getting caught in them was so dull and boring. If you got stuck in the doldrums you would be unable to move forward; marooned at sea in the middle of the tropics. If the winds were too long in coming, you could get depressed and stir crazy; worse, you could die from thirst or hunger.

Most dreaded it more than a storm.

Can you picture it—stifling heat, unrelenting sun, absolutely no breeze of any kind, no sounds of any kind, and the air perfectly still? You could go crazy just thinking about it. Imagine getting stuck there with no way out and no idea when the breezes would start again. “As idle as a painted ship, Upon a painted ocean.”

Yes, I can imagine it only too well.

Colloquially, in the doldrums came to mean a state of inactivity, mild depression, listlessness, or stagnation—a general state of low spirits. A pretty apt metaphor for how I was feeling at the moment. There was no wind in my sails and I felt as if I was drifting on a sea of gloom without an oar. Just like Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner.

So, who survived the doldrums?

Sailors who kept their spirits up, their sails trimmed and their ships in tip-top-shape—that’s who. They took advantage of the quiet time to prepare themselves for the breezes. And when the wind eventually blew, they were ready. A good sailor can use the tiniest breeze to get moving and out of danger.

Who didn’t survive? The sailors who allowed themselves to sink into fear and depression, who felt disconnected, cut-off, adrift. They focused on their fear, and would sink to the bottom of the ship, drunk and depressed. And when the breezes came, they didn’t feel them and lost their chance of escape. They weren’t ready.

So, ahem, at the risk of stating the obvious…

When we feel like there’s no wind in our sails, and nothing much is happening in our lives, embrace it! Trim your sails and get your ship in order.

Clients will come back.

Workshops will resume.

Books will finally be ready for marketing.

Life will crank up and splutter into action again.

In the meantime, I’m exulting in my freedom. I’m enjoying my enforced quiet time reading, researching, writing, de-cluttering. I’m spending hours just sitting in the garden with my dogs, sitting on my roof at sunset, bingeing on Netflix (a special skill of mine), and just being. I’m in bliss. Trimming those sails…sort of.

Enjoy your summer. Welcome those slow periods in life. They can be your most productive.

 

Retirement can bring on a feeling of the doldrums. If you are retired and feeling at loose ends or stuck, you might enjoy my book, The Retirement Rebel: How to get your life to work, when you don’t have to available on kindle and in paperback on amazon. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D6TWXP8.

This is an updated and revised version of How to Beat the Retirement Blues.

If you like it, I’d love, no, adore a nice review. Indie writers are so dependent on reviews to get our books noticed, so your review matters. Just go to the book page and click on where it says “Would you like to leave a review?” I’ll be so grateful I’ll treat you to tacos next time you’re in town

I invite you to visit margaretnashcoach.com for more books, articles, and other sail trimming ideas you might like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If You’re Stuck in That Problem, This Could Get You Unstuck

If You’re Stuck in That Problem, This Could Get You Unstuck

Have you ever had a problem so big, so overwhelming, and so intractable that it woke you up at 3 am with panic attacks? Caused you to have heart palpitations? Usually around health or money?

It happens to the best of us. Most of us. It’s not fun. And you can get stuck there.

My personal Waterloo was after Sept 11, 2001 when my business tanked by 90% overnight. Nobody wanted business training when they thought the world was ending. Kept me awake, I assure you. Couldn’t pay my bills.

What was yours? How did you handle it?

These are the three most common approaches to big scary issues:

Like the Warrior. Brave, head on, resisting, determined to win. Taking matters in your own hands and going out to battle. Take no prisoners. No surrender. This approach is positive and takes responsibility for the problem. It’s down to me folks. I can’t rely on anyone else.

Or you can be the Realist and stop resisting what is. You put yourself in expert hands and accept you can’t run that marathon. You surrender to reality. This is the way things are so let’s make the best of it. Let’s face it; I’ve never been healthy/good with money. No point in fighting it.

Then there’s the Friend. You make nice with your problem. What is it trying to tell you? You try to rise above it. You look for causes and meaning, and try to root out negative thinking. You relax and trust it will all work out because you believe everything that happens is meant to be.

Each approach has its pros and cons.

Here are some of the cons

The Warrior is stubborn and sometimes won’t listen to others… and can become the Terrorist if you are not careful. This approach can leave you exhausted and bitter. Fighting the battle becomes all consuming and more important than finding a solution. Result: anger, burnout, obsession with your issue, friends avoid you.

The Realist can leave you overmedicated, dependent on therapy groups, and entrenched in your victim story. Defeatist, not trying anything new. You come to believe there is no cure or that you will go bankrupt and lose your home. The Realist becomes the Victim and just throws in the towel. Result: depression, despair, low energy, just getting by but no solution. Friends avoid you.

 

The Friend approach can leave you dead if you’re not careful.

Alternative treatments can be effective, but sometimes you need more than affirmations and visualizations. Discovering the root cause of your money issues may not save your house from foreclosure. The Friend can become the Fanatic, insisting that meditation will cure everything. Just imagine all that money you’ve got and it will magically appear. Result: no results, loss of faith, sometimes death.

I have two friends who have passed on prematurely because they got stuck in one mode and in each case the shadow took over. One refused blood thinner and insisted on using quantum touch instead for his heart condition, and the other stubbornly stuck to green drinks and a vegan diet for a serious cancer condition. Both are gone now.

Would you like to know how to come unstuck from that problem?

Use all three. You need them.

Engage the Warrior and attack with energy and enthusiasm. Do your best. You can do this! But you must take action and stop procrastinating.

Indulge the Realist and give yourself a break. Relax, accept what is for an afternoon and collapse in a heap with the dogs and Netflix. Hey, it wasn’t entirely your fault.

Dialogue with the invisible Friend and look for the underlying causes—what can you learn from this? Is the Universe trying to tell you something? Can this make you a better person?

All three approaches are essential for the best results

What worked with my financial meltdown was this 3-pronged approach: go to battle and try to save my company with other streams of income; put myself in the hands of a financial advisor, swallow my pride and ask for a loan to tide me over; and hey, what was the lesson here that would prevent this happening again? Stay out of debt and live within my means. Save. Hello. I got through it, survived, and eventually thrived.

Recently there was a Netflix documentary about Ram Dass, the well-known and beloved spiritual teacher who suffered a debilitating stroke a few years back. He used the 3-prong remedy: Still in a wheelchair, he seemed really happy, content, at peace, and he said with a smile that the stroke was the best thing to happen to him. He wouldn’t have chosen it, but it was nevertheless a gift. He understood more about life. The Friend. And he was also busy with physical therapy and daily swimming. The Warrior. He had helpers to help him get around. The Realist. Covering all bases.

Sometimes we have to give in and accept help from others. Sometimes we have to put aside our long held beliefs about diet and vitamin pills in the face of serious illness and get to the doctor. Sometimes we need to fight, not accept what we’ve been told, and try different solutions. Sometimes we just need to pray.

The Warrior says you can beat this. The Realist helps you see your limitations. The Friend says, hey we can make something good come out of this. Buck up.

You need all three.

Find that balance between them. Using all three ensures your success.

If you are stuck in that problem then check to see if you are sticking with one mode of approach. Try using all 3 and see what happens. Let me hear from you! I’d love to hear your successes; and if you’re still stuck, maybe I can help.

 

If you liked this you might also like life-coaching. It’s about how to get your life to work the way you want it to. Visit my website and peruse the blogs, check out my life-coaching books, and find out if personal coaching could be just right for you. www.Margaretnashcoach.com.

 

 

 

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Got Stress? Here is the Perfect Stress Management Tool

Got Stress? Here is the Perfect Stress Management Tool

Prefer to listen to this blog—while you drive, while you work, while you exercise, or even while you cook? Try this audio; it’s eyes and hands free! It’s only 6 1/2 minutes, but if you’d like to download an mp3 to load onto your phone, right-click control-click on the mac) HERE.

 

Let’s be honest—we all experience stress. We all experience problems. Some big, some not so big.

The big stuff:

A health issue that won’t go away.

That huge debt that keeps you tossing and turning at night, leaving you exhausted.

That deteriorating relationship. It’s been on a downward spiral for some time now. You need to make a decision soon.

That friend/partner/family member who is drinking again.

Politics.

The not so big stuff:

The noisy neighbor.

The barking dog.

The new person in your group who talks too much and is spoiling it for all of you.

That high school friend on Facebook with political views that are driving you crazy.

The weird thing is, the big things and the not so big things can be equally stressful. There’s no accounting for what causes us unhappiness. We can sometimes sail through major life changes, and fall apart when someone is rude to us.

Whatever it is, stress and worry can steal your energy and put you through an emotional wringer— leaving you unable to cope with everyday life.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a way to deal with problems that dissolves the stress—even if it doesn’t necessarily dissolve the problem?

A way to handle stress that gives you a new point of view and sense of perspective?

Something, anything, that helps you cope? Feel more peaceful? And works immediately?

Good news! There is a way. I call it my Quick-Fix Stress Manager.

Let me share.

I first came across this set of 3 questions years ago, in the 1990s, when I was a hot-shot business trainer and this meme was making the rounds in training circles.

I remember going all cold with the ‘aha’ moment I experienced because of its simplicity and brilliance—as I was simultaneously overcome with jealousy that I hadn’t thought of it first. But I think the Buddha was first, and Seneca a few hundred years later. It sounds a lot like the Serenity Prayer written in 1951. Perhaps it’s always been around.

It’s simple, easy to remember; at the same time profound.

Here was something I could actually use—not just a clever sound-bite.

And definitely this was something that could help me with almost every problem I encountered. A true ‘across-the-board’ solution, kind of like an umbrella over anything in my life I found difficult to deal with.

Here we go:

The next time you are feeling anxiety, stress, worry or experiencing something disturbing, ask yourself these 3 questions:

1. Can I change it?

2. Can I accept it?

3. Can I walk away from it?

Note: You are working to find a yes somewhere here; otherwise you’re in for trouble. Expect to implode shortly.

Let’s look at this more closely:

1) Can I change it?
If you can change it, or at least do something about it, and it is somewhat under your control—take action. Any action. Then stop worrying about it. You are doing your best. Action is the absolute best stress reliever. Go on that march. Write that Senator. Donate. Make an appointment.
2) Can I accept it?
If you really cannot change it, and there is nothing you can do to affect the situation, can you accept it or resign yourself to it? Can you learn to live with it? If so, surrender to reality. You can’t change those election results. You can’t live that person’s life for them. Accept what is, and then let go the stress. Drop it now—it’s not serving any purpose.
3) Can I walk away from it?
If no to both of the first two questions, then the third option is —can you walk away from it? Get out, break off the relationship, move away, change jobs. You know that partnership is never going to work. You know you’ll never be happy living in Kansas. You can’t live with someone who is mentally ill if they won’t get treatment. Get out, now.

Walk away. You can’t change it and it will never be acceptable to you. It’s ok; you’re not a selfish monster, just realistic. You can always move to Antarctica.

Walking away can mean physically, as in leaving the scene, or emotionally and mentally. Sometimes we may not be able to move away or get on a plane, but we can just decide to switch off. It may be your only option for survival.

This Quick-fix Stress Management tool works for any issue or problem. It gives you a reframe, and a way to let go and move on.

These are your choices. You can work with 1, 2, or all 3.

If you can do all 3, then so much the better.

For instance, you can remove yourself from a nasty situation, and try your best to change it from a distance, at the same time accepting the reality of what is and feeling OK with it.

You may not be able to walk away from that health problem, but you can work to change it and accept what is at the same time.

You may not be able to walk away from that election result, (unless you unplug and become a hermit), but you can take what action you can, and accept what is, in the meantime.

You don’t have to like it, but if there is nothing you can do, you don’t have to let it ruin your life either.

The key is to let go of the worry and stress. Remember this: Nothing works well when you are stressed. Everything works better when you are calm.

You can’t argue with that. So make it your aim to let go of stress.

Try my Quick-Fix Stress Manager. I wish I had made it up. Really. I’d be a millionaire. So put it in your tool-box and use it next time you need it. And checks made out to Margaret Nash gratefully received…

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