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What’s Love Got To Do With Business?

February has arrived and, as always, right in the middle is Valentine’s Day. For some a very exciting day and for others the very thought of it lowers your energy; how can you enjoy Valentine’s Day if you are not part of a “couple?”

Does one day show whether you are loved or not? Isn’t it an entire day, week, year or even a lifetime that shows how much you are loved?

Now you may already be asking yourself, “What does love have to do with business? I am reading this article for inspiration not to reflect on my love relationship.” Stay with me, it is all connected.

Valentine’s Day gives you an opportunity to reflect on your beliefs and personal power. Do you give your happiness away if your present life does not mirror what a dream Valentine’s Day would be? Does this say that something is missing or wrong with you.

Many years ago I was experiencing the perfect Valentine’s Day with my husband, dining at the best restaurant in Sun Valley, Idaho…flowers already at the table and a beautiful sparkling bracelet presented with flair.

If you had been watching from across the room I would have been viewed as a very happy treasured woman. As dessert was served he leaned across the table and said. “I just want you to know that I am interested in another woman” … so much for the fairy tale Valentine’s Day.

To say that night sent me on a journey is an understatement; it did open up my questioning on how much love I was willing to give myself. We can only receive as much love as we carry, and it did not look like I was doing a very good job!

The love you have for yourself deeply influences all aspects of your life and your business, especially your business. Everything is energy, right? You can create the most beautiful perfect marketing piece or program, but if it was created in the energy of overwhelm and pushing and not infused with love your results will be less than desired.

Recent studies have shown that the happiness factor boosts your performance by 50% and raises productivity. If you lack self-love it goes hand in hand that your happiness factor will be lower and you will lose the benefits that I just described. You are ahead of the game if you really love the work you do. You are the influencing force in your business whether you work alone, manage a small team or have a very large organization; you must love yourself first and bring in a positive influencing energy with you each day.

Shawn Anchor, author of Happiness Advantage, says:

“It turns out our brains are hardwired to perform at their best not when they are negative or neutral, but when they are positive

Studies have also shown that the most loyal employees stay with a company because they feel cared about as a person; this can be more important to them than money!

How much love do you bring to your business? Be honest here; rate yourself on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest, where do you rank?

If your score is not as high as you would like, the following suggestions will move you in the right direction.

  • Choose one thing to do that feels absolutely indulgent.  Now put it on your calendar and make it happen; the love begins with you.
  • Make a list of all the positive qualities you personally bring to your business, nothing is too small. Put the list out where you look at it daily; appreciate yourself.
  • Seize every opportunity where you can share kindness and appreciation, remember people need to feel you care about them personally.
  • Make a gratitude list, what are you grateful for in your business, life, and the present journey. Gratitude brings more wonderful things your way, as what you focus on expands.

Aimée and I love to surprise and delight each other, especially during our birthday month. Yes, I did say month! We leave little treasures for the other to find, tie balloons in the bathroom, a gift card for a favorite coffee shop, and do errands.

Make it a practice to do things that surprise and delight you, your friends, and especially your employees/coworkers.

Yes, bringing love into the workplace is worth it on every level. Which step will you implement?

Email info@whattrulymatters.com we want to hear from YOU.

With love and appreciation,

Being With What Is…

I have always enjoyed the end of the year as much as the beginning of the New Year. During the last few weeks I find myself reflecting on the closing year; where did it exceed my expectations, what were the surprises (both good and challenging) along the way?  I enjoy making a huge mess as I purge my files, clean and organize my workspace, bringing in new energy. I set intentions for the coming year, playing with a new definition of success, which is in alignment with the person I have become.

This year was no exception, I had a plan, I held it loosely, and yet it was a plan. And then, life happened, on December 11th I came down with what felt like a cold/flu that took hold fully. It hit on every level physical, mental, emotional and spiritual; I am still compromised almost a month later. During the first few days I just rested and took care of myself, hunkered down in my bed with a good book (provided by my bestie) enjoying the complete down time. As the days wore on it was very clear I would have to let go of any plans I may have had and just surrender to the process.

Along the way I learned a few things:

  • Be patient with what is happening, everything has its own timeline
  • Use the short spurts of energy available and when it is gone, rest
  • Let go of your back story that is predicting gloom and doom, allowing your mind to run amuck does not accomplish anything
  • Asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness
  • Expect to become stronger each day

So what about the New Year? The best way to have a good year is by living life on a daily basis, letting the good days accumulate one by one. And it doesn’t have to be New Year’s to resolve to have a good year; start anytime, everyday is a new opportunity.

  1. Take time, slow down. Be present in your life and mindful of the present.
  2. Care for your body, eat well, exercise, and treat yourself to loving, nurturing self-care.
  3. Spend quality time with family and friends; communicate, and keep in touch. Say I love you. Tell people you appreciate them and why.  Be specific.
  4. Take time throughout the day for renewal. Take a walk, read a poem or a good book, listen to music (really listen); bring beauty into your life. On a monthly basis, take a whole day for yourself — play, treat yourself to something you want to do; retreat from your daily life. Mark these special days on your calendar (in colored ink) so you’ll be certain to take them.
  5. Commit to a project you really want to do or to learning something new or attaining something you want. Commitment is the first step. Then set achievable goals and work toward them on a daily basis.
  6. Give yourself to a cause, volunteer at a nonprofit organization, a community group or church, or lend a hand to an individual or family who could use your help.
  7. Practice your spirituality in whatever form you express it, on a daily basis.
  8. Laugh every day.
  9. Take time to dream.

Your life and business will continually give you the opportunity to grow and expand. You can meet those opportunities willingly and with curiosity or kicking and screaming, it is your choice.

What will you choose this year? Write down one thing you will commit to do within the next 24 hours!! I invite you to share your journey with us at info@whattrulymatters.com

Be Well,

The Perfect Time For A Self-Check-In

Ancient Romans named the month of January for Janus, their god of gates, doors and beginnings. Always pictured with two faces — one looking toward the future, the other back at the past — Janus is a fitting symbol for the turning of a new year.

We are only days away from 2015; it is no longer looming out in the very distant future, it is here now. Wherever you are focusing your attention will make a big difference in your life, the question is: will it be create more of the results that you want, or more of what you do not? Remember to keep choosing what you want more of!

As we step through the doorway from one year to the next, it’s natural to do as Janus does: look back and ahead. But this year, instead of just reflecting on the past year or making New Year’s resolutions, consider using this last part of the year to take stock of your life – after all, isn’t that what you really crave, a better life?  Yes, it is appropriate to stay in the present and live one-day at a time, and yet I know you do not really only want one great day; you want a great life, right?

In our house, we have a saying, “it’s not how you start, it is how you finish”. It began as a reference to sports, and yet, it applies fully to life and business. So let’s look at how you can finish 2014 in the best way possible.

Who are you? What do you believe? What do you really need?

When we discover who we really are, we stop living on autopilot and start to live with intention, focus and purpose. Our choices become clearer. We begin to make active choices in our life, instead of making excuses or passively living with the status quo.

Here are a few questions to get you started. Have a journal or some way to record your thoughts. (TIP: Writing by hand keeps you in touch with your breath and your heart.)

  1. What is aching to be expressed?
  2. What unique gifts, talents and skills do you bring to the world? How are you using them (or not)?
  3. Who do you need to forgive? How about yourself?
  4. What beliefs are holding you back or getting in your way?
  5. What can you let go of in your life?
  6. What makes you happy?
  7. What is your body telling you? When someone yells at you, does your stomach tie up in knots? Do your shoulders stiffen when you’ve been too focused on fulfilling others’ needs and ignoring your own? Notice the messages your body is giving you. You may be able to deny for a while that you are impacted, but, the body never lies!
  8. Check in with your heart.The heart is the home of what is most alive in us. What does your heart have to say about your work or about how you spend your days? Does it need more play time? What, according to your heart, truly matters?
  9. Listen to your intuition, your “gut.” Your intuition speaks volumes, but often gets ignored. What is this voice saying now?

A few reminders as you do your check-in:

  • Do consider the vital information that other “parts” of yourself are giving you. When you use only your head, your experience of yourself and the world is more limited.
  • Don’t forget to notice what you already have that is working. Acknowledge and give thanks for the gifts and the beauty and the miracles that are in your life right now. Write them down, you may be surprised when you really notice how much is actually working.
  • Be sure to tell the truth. After all, if you can’t be honest with yourself, then who can you tell the truth to? Encouraging those unlived parts of you to emerge can provide an exhilarating sense of discovery and optimism for the New Year and beyond!
  • At this time of year, many have the tendency to take on too much and overwhelm or terrorize themselves, but it is not helpful or even necessary. Choose the areas where you can be your best self, this is the greatest gift you can give anyone. Love yourself into the changes and expansion you desire…ah, now doesn’t that feel better?

We welcome you to share your thoughts, insights and experiences by sending an email to info@whattrulymatters.com

Love and Blessings,

Everything is a Gift

November has arrived. Thanksgiving is right around the corner, launching the holiday season. I have always enjoyed this time of year, I love the fall, the special meals, and coming together to share with loved ones all that we are grateful for. I love the topic of gratitude, and yet so much has been said about it already.

Yes, we’re thankful for our health, our safety, and our loved ones. But, what do we take for granted? What moves us? What would fill our hearts daily if we would just notice it? What if the very thing we are grateful comes out of deep grief or sorrow?

What if you were to see everything in life as a gift? After all it is us who label everything good or bad, and yet if you believe, like us, that everything happens for a reason, emanating from your soul’s desire to experience everything, to learn and to grow.

As you read the suggestions below take note of what moves you.

  1. The senses. Sight, sound, touch, smell and taste—daily miracles each of them; just ask someone that is deaf or blind what they think of the senses

  2. Nature. The exquisite array of bounty at a farmers market to the delicate unfurling of a fern, nature’s exuberance and tenderness is something to behold. The changing leaves can take your breath away, while a walk in the redwoods will soothe your soul.

  3. Opportunity. Our steady companion, opportunity, is always ready to take us down a path yet unknown. When we step willingly into the unknown the space opens for miracles (Hint: We have to say “Yes!” to opportunity)

  4. Beauty. What do your eyes feast on? What splendor makes your soul rejoice? It is all around us every day. How often do you stop to drink it in? How often do you take the time to create it in your own space?

  5. The ability to learn. There is no age limit on learning—period. When we stop learning, we stop living. Develop your curiosity to stay connected with the learning that presents itself every day.

  6. Young children. They model for us innocence, faith, resilience, playfulness and unconditional love. To uplift your spirits, go sit near a playground and let the joy surround you.

  7. Music. What inspires you and lifts your mood? Rock & Roll, African drumming, violin concertos, gospel? Or. the sound of the birds outside your window?

  8. The ability to give. Every act of love benefits the giver as much as the receiver. If you are ever feeling poor, give to someone else and see the immediate shift that happens. A few years ago I presented a homeless woman with a new tent, the memory of that day continues to humble me and bring tears immediately to my eyes. I experienced a woman filled with gratitude for all the gifts she receives in a day, whether it was a quarter, a dollar or a tent; she said she was a blessed woman. It was more than receiving a tent; it was her way of being. I was the receiver of the gift that day.

  9. Color. Sunsets, fine art, vibrant colored vegetables, blue eyes. Can you imagine a world without color? 4.5% of the world is colorblind, millions of people do not have the gift of seeing the full range of color that most of us take for granted…

  10. Change. It’s unavoidable – the only constant. Change can be unsettling or challenging. But the mystery of it and what lies beyond it can keep us young at heart.

I mentioned that deep grief and sorrow is something to be grateful for, just the thought may be a stretch for you. In the past two years I have lost numerous loved ones, many too young. The grief was intense and at times still is. I wake up with a longing to have one more conversation, one more sharing of love. And, out of this experience, I have developed a deep compassion and ability to meet others in their grief – for that I am grateful. I also cherish every relationship more fully; we do not know how long anyone will be with us.

  1. Compassion. It’s the ability to feel everything fully and allowing it to affect you; the highs and lows, the joys and the sorrows. To meet another person exactly where they are without editing or changing a thing, being a witness to the life of another is a true gift!

  2. Pets. Dogs, cats, birds, they all bring tremendous joy. A pet brings unconditional love without limit day after day.

A large body of recent work has suggested that people who are more grateful have higher levels of well-being:

      • Grateful people are happier, less depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied with their lives and relationships.

      • Grateful people have more positive ways of coping with the difficulties they experience in life, being more likely to seek support from other people.

      • Grateful people also have less negative coping strategies, being less likely to try to avoid, deny, blame themselves or others, or cope through substance use if there is a problem.

      • Grateful people sleep better, and this seems to be because they think less negative and more positive thoughts just before going to sleep.

I invite you to build the practice to gratitude into every day, and share what you discover.

Love and Blessings,

 

Are You Too Busy?

Time is the great equalizer. Everybody gets the same amount: 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour. We can’t save time or accumulate or rearrange it. We can’t turn it off or on. It can’t be replaced.

But these days, it seems as if the lament of not having enough time has become a national anthem. Everywhere people find themselves constantly in a rush, over-booked and over-scheduled with no time off. Life is accompanied by the ongoing stress of not enough time. And sometimes doing too much and being too busy can be a way of numbing feelings or disguising depression or anger.

Though it may not always seem so, how we fill our time and how we spend it is our choice. Do you realize that by choosing “busy” you will always be trying to catch up, or stay just ahead of the impending doom that seem to be lurking very closely.

In truth, many of us would rather remain over scheduled, underproductive, running from shiny object to shiny object, than to pause and take a look at what is really going on and what you are really feeling.

I invite you to stop right now and answer the following questions to discover if you’re caught up in the “too-busy” cycle. Until you really see your own behaviors clearly you will not be able to make any changes. Now think about it, “if you are not willing to do this step you are actually choosing to stay exactly where you are” –  is that really what you want?

Take a deep breath and center yourself, and begin...

 

YES | NO
I constantly find myself doing “urgent” things and trying to catch up.
YES | NO
I allow myself to drift into obligations when I don’t know how much time or energy they’ll require, which results in over committing.
YES | NO
I find myself running from when I get up in the morning until I go to bed at night. I’m always tired and never feel like I accomplished enough.
YES | NO
I seldom schedule a day off for myself and when I do, I tend to fill it with activities: I don’t seem to know how to relax anymore.
YES | NO
I don’t make time for “self-care” activities: physical exercise, nurturing or “pampering” myself, cultural stimulation, spiritual well-being, learning something new, playing, or simply doing nothing.
YES | NO
I seldom have time to do the things I really love.
YES | NO
My work and project areas are cluttered with, “I’ll look at this later” stacks and “to-do” piles; procrastination has become a way of life.
YES | NO
I often miscalculate how long certain activities will take, creating more stress as the hours fly by.
YES | NO
I often miss deadlines or work long hours scrambling to meet a deadline.
YES | NO
I respond to interruptions such as phone calls, faxes, email, beepers and pagers, and allow them to take me off track; I am distracted often!
YES | NO
I try to keep things in my head rather than making lists; If I do make a daily “to-do” list, it’s impossible to complete in a day, this contributes to my overwhelm.
YES | NO
I tend to move from one urgent thing to the next, rather than working toward specific goals and objectives.
YES | NO
I find myself constantly wishing I had more time or projecting an imaginary future when I have more time, making comments such as, “as soon as…” or, “next year…”
YES | NO
I spend time running errands and rushing because I didn’t plan well enough.
YES | NO
I spend time doing things I could pay someone else to do.
YES | NO
Other people complain that my schedule doesn’t allow enough time for them.

What did you discover? Did you find that you are actually doing much better than you realized or have done in the past? Did you notice a pattern that shows you the outcomes you are creating due to your choices? Awareness is the first step in making lasting changes; seriously, how can you change something you cannot see?

You may be asking, “what next?” How do I shift to a healthier way of conducting my business and my life?

The first step is to begin small by taking “baby steps.” Too often we terrorize ourselves for all the things we are doing that are out of alignment, and then we terrorize ourselves with a list of all the changes we are going to make immediately. Most exercise programs fail in the first week; we set ourselves up to fail. It is very common for a new exerciser to pledge to go from 0 exercise to 45 minutes a day, four times a week.  it is not going to happen!

Look back over your list and pick 2 areas that really stand out for you as uncomfortable. Please resist the urge to choose 4 or more as you will be setting yourself up to fail.

At our Developing Alliances live event this week one of our participants shared how she manages to have time for herself on a regular basis. First, she looks at her calendar for the week/month and blocks out chunks of time for herself, a couple of hours, ½ day or full day. This is non-negotiable time that cannot be bumped. She has also created a “Joy List.” One list is free things that promote joy and the other list costs money. Some no cost examples are: a walk on the beach, attending the farmers market, free concerts in the park, wandering through a bookstore.

The payment list includes massage, concerts, dining out, an overnight getaway, manicure and pedicure – you get the picture. This is brilliant and I invite you to create your lists now, not only will it help you to plan your time it will show you what is important to you now.

You may discover that something that you do as a habit is actually very important. One thing that makes me extremely happy and costs very little is getting my car washed. I love looking at it all shiny, driving with crystal clear, clean windows. I feel uplifted every time I get into it. I keep this on my schedule as a necessity for my wellbeing.

My wish for you is that you have a life that is fulfilling rather than busy, it is only a choice away.

I would enjoy hearing from you, what are you choosing?

Love and Blessings,

 

Build Your Business with the Seasons

Mother Nature certainly likes her routine. Global warming aside, she cycles through the same processes, in the same order, doing things the same way they always have worked.

Within that cycle, of course, variations exist—a dry winter or a mild fall—but we always can rely on the rhythm. One season follows the other. It’s a comfortable predictability in a world that often seems to be wildly unpredictable.

Luckily, it is possible to tap into that natural cycle, to bring into our professional lives a greater sense of flow and order.

As you read the suggestions below, keep in mind that we all have our own rhythms as well. What works for one person or business might not work for another. Take the ideas as ways to get you thinking. If a particular suggestion doesn’t work for you, is there another seasonally inspired activity that might?

Presently the energies are turning towards fall as summer activities are winding down. You may be already noticing the subtle changes to the leaves on the trees; the next level of change is inevitable. Begin making your plans to support your business with the energies that are available now.

FALL

The fall offers us golden rich colors and crisp, cool air. There’s a feeling of transition and that “back to school” energy we never outgrow. The harvest of fruit and vegetables is in full swing as our energies begin slowing a bit from the activities of summer.

A few business activities for fall:

  • Harvest the bounty of your good work, by fulfilling orders for your new products and services and collecting feedback from your customers and clients.
  • Prepare for the winter and the end of the year by compiling your records.
  • Consider your own harvest. Are you satisfied with its size and quality? What might you do to improve it for next year?

WINTER

Winter brings frigid air, frosted glass and, in some areas, a white blanket of snow. Many plants and some animals slip into hibernation and get ready for their springtime rebirth. Wintertime sports and holidays bring a new energy to our days and nights. With shorter days ahead, it is a time to go inward and reflect.

Here are a few business activities that align with winter:

  • While you’re hunkered down indoors, take some time to analyze your year-end numbers—what do they tell you about the choices you made this year? What could you improve? What did you do well?
  • You won’t be hibernating forever, so set your goals for the following year—what would you like your numbers to look like next winter and how will you make that happen?
  • Consider what is “hibernating” in your work or personal life. Is it almost the time for a dormant phase to end?

SPRING

In spring, everything is glistening, green and new. There is a feeling of expansion, birth or rebirth. There’s a sense of renewal and reawakening. Seeds start to grow. In springtime, people start to get outside more, becoming reacquainted with their gardens. We take on spring-cleaning projects and clear out clutter.

A few business activities that align with spring:

  • Plant your own seeds by designing one or two new products or services for your business. Give yourself lots of time for brainstorming and collaboration before honing your ideas.
  • When you’re ready, create a detailed launch plan with action steps and a timeline.
  • Ask yourself what other seeds you would like to sow—and what others already are starting to sprout.

SUMMER

In summer, the landscape is lush and colorful with fruits and flowers. The air is warm and growth is everywhere. Summertime lends opportunities for family adventures and exploring. Long days lend a feeling of abundance.

A few business activities for summer:

  • Use the longer days to tweak your systems and work out any bumps or bugs in your implementation process.
  • If the timing is right for your business, launch your new services or products.
  • Complete other projects so that you can reap their rewards. Put finishing touches on work you’ve been doing.
  • Think about what you’re about to harvest. Are you ready for it? What else can you do to support your own abundance?

By tailoring some of what you do to the natural rhythms that allow, sustain and renew all life on earth, you might just find that your business is likewise supported, as it grows and prospers. The seasons remind us that change is always happening. Expect change and even welcome it into your life and business, after all, it is your offering to the world; let yourself shine brightly.

I would like to hear what you are creating, send an email to info@whattrulymatters.com

Love and Blessings,

How’s Your Joy Level at Work?

Many of us see joy as the delightful result of being able to do work that we love. And this is certainly a great producer of joy on the job. Yet, those of us have not yet found the work we love or have a more challenging relationship with our work but still know an enhanced relationship with your work is possible.

Some of us are working in a job, while at the same time, building a business as a solo entrepreneur. All of the above scenarios require fortitude to go the distance following your heart and your dream. Whether you desire to be self-employed or to give your greatest level of contribution to the company you work for, it is important to realize the joy doesn’t just miraculously happen. As you all well know, one day can be fabulous and the next you wonder how you will get through to the end. Everyone has tasks that they enjoy doing and others that are mundane, yet necessary.

The real trick, however, is how to bring joy to anything you do. Doing so can transform the mundane into the enjoyable and let loose incredible energy for all you put your attention to. The secret is: creativity. Feeling creative and playful helps us move through resistance, fear, boredom and being disengaged on our way to an, “engaged satisfaction.”

Test your joy quotient with this Self-Quiz:

(True/False)

  1. Creativity doesn’t just belong to artistic types living in loft studios. Work is a place I frequently exercise my creativity.
  2. I think of myself as someone who doesn’t just want what I want, but as someone who is going to get it. It’s just a matter of staying on track.
  3. I keep blank notebooks in several places for jotting down my ideas and inspirations, and recorder for recording observations.
  4. No matter how “uncreative,” sensible, logical I might consider myself to be, if I have a pressing idea—a core desire—I’m going to express it.
  5. My family, my company, my community, and my world all benefit when I access and use my innate creativity.
  6. Feeling vulnerable and insecure is part of the process of creating anything. To see me through those times, I call on those who I know support my project, not those who might discourage my efforts.
  7. I change the state of boredom when I need to by doing everyday things differently.
  8. I encourage laughter in my department/business throughout the day to lift the energy.
  9. I quiet my mind regularly, and when I do, creative ideas and inspirations often show up seemingly out of nowhere.
  10. I look around my world—city streets or nature’s paths—for creative inspiration and sources of joy.
  11. I anticipate unexpected twists of fate, chance encounters and unorthodox solutions.
  12. I make a regular habit of connecting with my wishes, and I’m not afraid to wish for too much. But rather than wish for personal success alone, I link my wishes to how they serve the greater whole.
  13. I use affirmations—positive statements phrased in the present tense and repeated often—to keep my joy level high.
  14. I make it a habit to do one scary thing to stretch myself every day.
  15. I laugh at myself—frequently.

If you answered “false” more often than “true,” you may be plugging up your joy channel, thereby creating unnecessary struggles.

Look back over you list and choose one or two items that you answered “false” to.

Take a deep breath and check in; see which of them would be the best area to focus on right now. Write down an Inspired Action Step based on the area you chose, make it something you are really committed to. If you are “interested” you will do whatever is convenient, if you are “committed” you will do whatever it takes. Why bother with anything less than committed, right?

Please don’t hesitate to call if you would like help clearing any areas and reconnecting to your joy. And, I would love to hear what resonated with you from this article, let’s begin a dialogue. Email me at info@whattrulymatters.com

Love and Blessings,

Top 10 Best Email Habits

Summer has arrived!

Longer days and lighter clothing, barbeques, outdoor music and dancing, special time with family and fireworks are the order of the day. Like many, you have good intentions to do this summer differently, making time for what really matters to you – right?

Each day you start out full steam ahead, promising that you will leave work on time with energy left over for the evening. For many of you even with the best of intentions you rarely meet this desire, so much is tugging at you to complete each day.

One area that is consistently an energy drain is email, the neverending in-box, which seems to fill up as quickly as it gets emptied, if it ever gets emptied.

I feel this one every day and decided it was time to tame the dragon. Improving your email habits can drastically increase your productivity.

Like any new approach, these take focus and practice.

But after awhile, they will become habits that support you.

  1. Check email only at scheduled times for a specified amount of time. Twice a day for 30-60 minutes works well for many. Unplug until the next scheduled time.
  2. Unsubscribe relentlessly. Make sure you receive only the things you really want to—and do—read. If you have trepidation about letting something go, write down the company name in a file, for easy access later. If you really miss it re-subscribe.
  3. Reduce the amount of routed email (i.e., cc’d from coworkers) to only that which is essential.
  4. “Slash and burn” on your first pass through your inbox, this makes a big difference. Use the second pass for replies and other follow-up actions.
  5. Empty your inbox every day and keep it that way. Delete most and file the rest.
  6. Include all of your contact information in your signature—phone, fax, website—so that others don’t have to hunt for this information.
  7. One topic, one subject. Change the subject line when conversation turns to another topic, and break up multiple topics into separate emails for easy filing and recall.
  8. Count to ten before clicking “Send.” Make sure your email is clear and represents what you really want to say to avoid a lot of back-and-forth later.
  9. Include in your replies the original context of the email so you (and others) don’t have to hunt for it later.
  10. Resist the temptation to check your email more than your scheduled times! It’s a simple step but has a profound effect on productivity.

Look back over this list to see what stands out to you. Set yourself up for success by choosing 1-2 areas to focus to begin with. Once you have mastered those choose 1-2 more.

Congratulations, you are on your way to taming the email dragon and having more time to live the life that truly matters.

I would love to hear what resonated with you from this article, let’s begin a dialogue. Email me at info@whattrulymatters.com

Love and Blessings,

When Life Presents The Big Questions

I have been on quite a journey since the beginning of the year.

To be honest, I asked for it…

Have you heard the saying, “Beware of what you ask for – you just might get it”?  I think you know where this is going, don’t you?

I had been feeling a deep sense of unrest for a few months, a yearning for something more and yet not sure what I was yearning for. After wrestling with it month after month, I realized I was experiencing a need to deepen my spiritual practice; I wanted to know my soul more intimately.

You may be asking yourself, “What does that mean?” I was asking myself the same thing.

I walked with the question for many weeks and was not any closer to an answer than I had been at the beginning. What I did begin to notice was the falling away of old patterns and daily habits that had been very supportive for me over the years.

I began my day as I had for many years with heart Centered Grounding and Centering, spiritual reading and contemplation, prayer, and stillness. I would choose an intention for the day as my touchstone. Imagine my surprise when I reached for these tools and found I felt flat!

Even though the grounding and centering continued to keep me connected, and my energy field protected, which is so very important, I realized I wanted more, although I was still not sure where to turn. I finally relaxed into being with whatever was present. In the morning I would ground and center and find myself staring out the window for an hour.

Each day it was slightly different, without any of the structure I had in the past. I did not feel lost as much as I felt I was in a void.

Two opportunities showed up that addressed this deep yearning to know my soul. The first one was a 9-week course with Neale Donald Walsch, titled, Living From Your Soul. I laughed out loud when the email arrived in my in-box. The second was a weekend with Pema Chodron and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche at the Being Brave 3-day retreat, held in Pt. Richmond CA. I was not actively looking for either of these, yet they arrived at the perfect time

Finally, the void became a very rich place to be as I played with “what if?”

“What if I just relax into this?” “What if I have everything I need?” “What if I designed something new for the beginning of my day and the end of my day?”

“What if I drew from the wealth of knowing I already had within without needing inspiration from other sources for this present time?” “What if…?”

I began a morning and evening experiment…

In the morning:

  • State out loud how I wanted to show up in this day, focused, happy, engaged, inspired, grateful, connected, etc.
  • Write down my area of focus and look at it often to keep me on track
  • Allow myself to be with whatever arose during my morning time, it was just fine if each day was different from the one before and unstructured.

In the evening, I had an end of the day review:

  • Did I accomplish what I wanted to do?
  • Is there something I would have liked to do differently?
  • Could I have made better supportive choices in my day with food, judgments, exercise, etc?

I became more regular with my journaling as the changes were often subtle.

What I have noticed is that:

  • I am much more in the flow of life.
  • I am happier and more peace filled thorough out the day.
  • I bring more laughter and playfulness to everything I do.
  • My creativity has been enhanced.
  • My inner guidance and soul are informing me continually if I am in alignment or not.
  • I am choosing to let go and flow with whatever is showing up. It is not always comfortable yet it is always worth it.

I would love to hear what resonated with you from this article, let’s begin a dialogue.

Email me at info@whattrulymatters.com

Love and Blessings,

Bounce Back: Developing Emotional Resilience

Major disruptions are a “gotcha” we all experience at one time or another in our lives. We get fired, laid off or passed over; a loved one dies, leaves or gets in trouble; a project stalls or gets cancelled. Often the “gotcha” is a disappointment when life takes an unexpected turn. The list, unfortunately, is endless.

In our current times you would be hard pressed to find anyone that is not experiencing some very challenging situations in their life or the lives of those close to them. We are deeply impacted when those we love are going through difficult times, and it is important to acknowledge that impact.

A far more subtle form of “gotcha” can be the process of our growth.  Over the past months I have felt stretched and pulled to grow in my life and business, it has been very uncomfortable, with a lot of uncertainty throughout and yet I welcome it. Now let’s be clear, welcoming these energies does not make it any easier, it allows me to become a partner in the process which removes layers of resistance, yet is still carries the same energy of disruption.

For some, the impact of these hard times is overwhelming. Recovery, if it comes at all, can be painfully slow. Others show admirable resilience and are able to glide through these times fairly easily, bouncing back to a normal life again quickly. Resilience—the strength required in adapting to change—acts as our internal compass so we can resourcefully navigate an upset.

When unexpected events turn life upside down, it’s the degree to which our resiliency comes into play that makes these “make-or-break” situations opportunities for growth. The good news is that each of us has the capacity to reorganize our life after a disruption and to achieve new levels of strength and meaningfulness. Though it’s easy to feel vulnerable in the midst of chaos and uncertainty, disruptions are not necessarily a bad thing because they help us grow and meet future challenges in our lives. It’s a lot like a bone that was once fragile or broken, and is now strong from being used or strong at the formerly broken places.

So how can you become more resilient? Here’s a look at seven key characteristics of people who demonstrate resilience during life’s curve balls.

A Sense of Hope and Trust in the World

Resilient people rely on their belief in the basic goodness of the world and trust that things will turn out all right in the end. This positive attitude allows them to weather times when everything seems bleak and to look for and accept the support that is out there. This approach toward the world gives them the ability to hope for a better future.

Interpreting Experiences in a New Light

The ability to look at a situation in a new way (a skill called “reframing”) can minimize the impact of a difficult situation. Resilient people take a creative approach toward solving a problem, and don’t always use an old definition for a new challenge.

A Meaningful System of Support

One of the best ways to endure a crisis is to have the support of another person who can listen and validate your feelings. Knowing that others care and will come to our support decreases the feeling of isolation, especially when tackling a problem alone. It’s important to choose people you trust. Don’t be surprised if it takes several friends, who each can provide different kinds of support. Resilient people aren’t stoic loners. They know the value of expressing their fears and frustrations, as well as receiving support, coaching or guidance from friends, family or a professional.

A Sense of Mastery and Control Over Your Destiny

You may not be able to predict the future, but you can tackle a problem instead of feeling at the mercy of forces outside of your control. Resilient people know that ultimately their survival and the integrity of their life values depend on their ability to take action rather than remain passive. Tough times call for you to tap into your own sense of personal responsibility.

Self-Reflection and Insight

Life’s experiences provide fertile ground for learning. Asking yourself questions that invite introspection can open a door to new understanding and appreciation of who you are and what you stand for. Giving voice to your thoughts and feelings leads to insight and helps transform the meaning of a problem into something useful. Resilient people learn from life situations and do not succumb to punishing themselves because of decisions made in the past.

A Wide Range of Interests

People who show resilience in the face of adversity are those who have a diversity of interests. They’re open to new experiences and ideas. Because their lives are rich and varied, it’s easier for them to find relief from the single mindedness and worry that often accompany a crisis.

Sense of Humor

Have you ever had a wry laugh during a difficult situation? The ability to see the absurdity, irony, or genuine humor in a situation stimulates our sense of hope and possibility. Humor has both psychological and physical benefits in relieving stress because it encourages a swift change in your perception of your circumstances—and when your thoughts change, your mood follows.

Which of the seven areas stands out to you the most? Begin there and then move on to the next. Improving these seven areas now—rather than waiting for adversity to pay a visit—will allow you to bounce back more quickly.

Resiliency is a necessary quality to carry forth through the uncertain times you are experiencing now.  as well as those you can be sure will show up in the future. If you need help navigating any challenges we are just a phone call or email away, we would love to hear from you.

Love and Blessings,

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