Live An Extraordinary Life

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Photo courtesy of Jano Kray

Hi and welcome back!

I’ve been asked what it takes to live an extraordinary life. Here are my Top 10 Recommendations:

10.  Experience some silence everyday.

Spending time in silence leads to greater self-knowledge and increased creativity and balance. Why? Because human intelligence is more than the mind. When we let the mind rest, we experience “the gap.” This stillness is the channel through which effortless creativity flows. Silence also prepares us for moving effectively into action. Try it. You will be amazed at how much of an impact it will have.

9. Know Thyself.”

In the book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra says: “True essence is beyond ego. It is fearless, it is free, it is immune to criticisms, it does not fear any challenge. It is beneath no one, superior to no one and full of magic, mystery and enchantment.”  Many of us wake up one day and realize that we have spent our lives doing what others thought we should be doing. It is the equivalent of realizing that we have been an “extra” in someone else’s life! Commit to your life.  Pull out the stops and enjoy discovering the richness of your multi-faceted self.

8. Take complete responsibility for your life.

We have all at one time or another blamed someone or something else for what wasn’t working in our lives. When we do this we give away our personal power and with it, our ability to be happy and to reach our potential.  Remember, the only thing we really control in life is ourselves and our response to life. Choose how you want to experience life. Ask yourself everyday, “Did I do my best today to live an extraordinary life?

7. Be authentic in all of your actions.

This means living in integrity: telling the truth to yourself and to others, always. When you are living in integrity you do not turn away from any part of yourself.  This authenticity creates a positive energy around you and it teaches others how to live authentically. No compromises here. If you have a breach, fix it immediately. Remember, your behavior always speaks louder than your words.

6. Do compassionate things for yourself.

What are the things that nurture you and result in your heart and mind opening generously to others?  Did you see what I did with that question? I assume that taking care of yourself is not only good for you but results in an increase in your ability to be present and loving with others. This is true, it does. Prove it to yourself. Think of something that you love to do and then ask yourself “Who am I after I do this thing? How am I with others? Am I more upbeat, do I sport a better sense of humor? Can I love more?”  Nurturing yourself is not about ego-based acts that take something away from someone else so that you can have it. They are about developing your capacity to love yourself and others more fully.

5. Speak and hear from the heart first, then partner with your brain and let the combined wisdom lead you.

 Antoine De Saint-Exupery said: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Our logical minds are brilliant and powerful and we cannot live without them. They are so powerful, in fact, that they also can trick us into thinking that “thinking” is all we need. Just remember that true wisdom results from opening fully to all portals of our intelligence. Practice listening to your entire being and allow your true wisdom to flow.

4. Trust yourself.

I’ve written a short poem called The Voice of Truth that reads:“Never have I been misguided by my inner voice of truth. Many times, however, I have misguided myself by ignoring its wisdom.” Intuition is the language of our highest self. It is our inner guidance system. It never lies. Our bodies house this intuition. We sometimes say things like “I’ve got a gut feel about this”.  Listen to your body, to every inkling, and let it guide you. Don’t let logic overpower the equation. That is the mind trying to scare you and have you live in fear. Don’t go there, there is no need. You know everything you need to know. The key is to practice accessing and listening for it and to it, even when it doesn’t seem to “make sense”.

3. Spend time in nature. 

Emerson once said, “In the woods we return to reason and faith”. Nature returns us to our natural rhythms. When walking through the woods or watching dolphin play in the surf we realize intimately that we are part of something bigger. Many of us have had the experience of seeing something so astonishing in nature that it stops the mind completely. We cannot get this perspective while commuting on freeways or working inside office buildings. Get outside, breathe and enjoy the wonder.

2. Practice acceptance.

This doesn’t mean walking away from tough situations or surrendering passively to life; quite the contrary.  Acceptance is the first step to taking control of your life. It means accepting that what is, is, and then moving forward with a conscious course of action.  The inability to accept the realities of our life can immobilize us and keep us stuck in victim land. Face life head on. If something needs changing, accept that fact and change it. The famous Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “The certain test of sanity is if you accept life whole, as it is.” We all have faced difficult situations in our lives. What we do with them is what counts. Acceptance allows us a full and open embrace of our life as it is. In an extraordinary life there is room for our joy, our questions, our doubts even our agonies. 

1. Give what you hope to get, and you will.

Nothing creates an environment of openness and generosity like openness and generosity. It is a wonderful, powerful, positive cycle. Start it now and watch the miracles that happen.

For information on how private coaching services can help you live an extraordinary life, please feel free to email me  sheila.madden@maddencoaching.com or call (831) 277-4919 . Or, you can visit: https://liveanextraordinarylife.net/services/ 

For information on executive/corporate coaching, visit: http://maddencoaching.com/services/.

Photo courtesy of Jano Kray

Hi and Welcome back!

Are you ready to have an extraordinary relationship? I’m talking about the kind of relationship that provides you with a deep sense of fulfillment emotionally, physically, intellectually, and spiritually. Having this type of intimate relationship is something that most of us want and need in our lives. So, whether you are in a relationship already and want to take it to the next level or you are looking to find the right partner, here are 7 Principles of Success that I hope you will find helpful.

1. Love yourself first. Nothing attracts a healthy, loving partner into your life more than being a healthy loving person. Take a spin through these statements to see how you are doing.

No matter how busy I am I make sure to take care of my body, eat well, exercise and get enough sleep.

I am  consistently tuned in to how I feel and I make decisions and take actions in ways that honor my emotional well-being.

I feel confident and happy with myself. I trust myself.

I avoid negative self-talk. If I slip and harshly criticize myself, I quickly recognize it and immediately replace the negative thought with a positive one.

If I act in ways that do not honor the best in me, I am compassionate with myself and see it simply as an opportunity to do better next time.

I don’t tolerate people, places or situations in my life that zap my joy or  energy.

I  would pick me for a best friend.

2. Know what you want and need and why. Specificity is important here. Who is your ideal partner? What are their beliefs and values, what kind of sense of humor do they have, what work do they do, what kind of heart do they have?

Perhaps most important, what do you need from them. When I say “need” I’m not talking about something required to fill a self-love gap that you haven’t taken care of yourself. I’m talking about what you need to feel and be at your best. So if you are someone who needs a lot of freedom in a relationship to explore your different interests and talents, you probably want to make sure that you are with someone who is self-reliant and confident and doesn’t need you around all of the time.

3. Choose your relationship, don’t fall into unconsciously out of convenience, boredom or loneliness. If you have taken care of #1 & 2, this is not likely.

4. Learn to be an expert communicator, especially when there is conflict (hint hint). Once in a relationship the most important component of success is communication. It is how you build strength, trust, intimacy and connection. Communicating together is how you share and join together your hopes and dreams and desires. When times get tough it is this common foundation, created through communicating, that is the glue that will hold your relationship together.

5. Make compassion and forgiveness a way of life. Compassion is the ability to show concern for the suffering of your partner. Sometimes your partner is the only one in the world who knows that you are suffering. Often, they can be the only who can provide the mercy and support you need to get through something difficult. What a gift to be able to give and receive.

And then there is the earthly reality is that we are all flawed and at some point will screw up. This makes learning to forgive a good thing because you too, will at some point, need to ask for the forgiveness of your partner for something that you have done.

Compassion and forgiveness are the tools used in extraordinary relationships to extract the wisdom from whatever you are going through as a couple; they help take your relationship to deeper and amazing levels of intimacy.

6. Keep the sex and romance alive. Healthy sexual intimacy is a must and is the ultimate sacred exchange that creates a unique bond between partners. It will look and feel different at different times in your relationship. The key is that each person stays willing to experiment, play and take the time to make their partner feel desired and cherished. Romance is different. It is about imagination and creatively keep things fresh and unexpected within your relationship.

7. Have a sense of humor. Life has a way of providing lots of material to laugh at and relationships are no exception. The #1 rule is to not take yourself too seriously and #2 is learn to laugh at yourself. Then, invite your partner to laugh with you because believe me, they want to desperately!

So there you have it. Was this helpful?

Photo courtesy of Jano Kray

Hi and Welcome back!

We have been talking about what it takes to create an extraordinary life and in my last blog I touched on fear and how it is an unlikely companion in this process.

Fear often gets a bad wrap. The truth is that fear is one of the most beneficial emotions we have. 

1.  It keeps us alive by triggering the limbic system of the brain and letting us know when we are in physical, emotional or spiritual danger

2. It tells us when we are on the verge of something great (because that is usually scarier than hell)

3. It helps us stay humble and compassionate by bringing us face to face with our own vulnerability

But often fear operates at an unconscious level and gets out of control and this is what prevents us from taking the action we need to fulfill our potential and create the extraordinary life that is available to us.

So, lets break it down a bit.  If you rewind any experience in your life to understand a particular outcome you will find that for most of us it generally goes like this:

We have beliefs and values that form how we think about the world which in turn drives our emotions, which result in our actions which then create our experience of life

When we are experiencing fear unconsciously, which neuroscientists tell us we do at an astonishing rate, most often we are experiencing False Evidence Appearing Real. We figure this out only when we take the time to examine  step by step what thought generated the fear, and what belief and value drove the thought.

This is when we realize that often we don’t even believe the belief that generated the thought that created the fear that stopped us in our tracks and left us feeling dissatisfied by our inability to take the action that would fulfill our dream. 

OK, so what do we do with all of this? Become conscious of it and be the master of your own domain! In the next week try this:

1. Get in touch with the physical feeling you get when you feel afraid, apprehensive, or anxious.  NAME the feeling and location of the feeling in your body. For example, your heart may race, your head may ache, your gut may tighten. Get very familiar with how it feels so you can recognize it quickly.

2. Notice what is going on that caused the fear. What is the situation, topic, person, language etc…

3. Ask yourself what thoughts you are having about that situation, topic, person, language.

4. Figure out what beliefs those thoughts are anchored in and ask if they are still valid for you. This is where you understand if fear is helping you do any of  the good stuff in #1-3 at the beginning of the blog, or if it is False Evidence Appearing Real or an unconscious, maybe even habitual response.

5. Consciously decide what action you will take. The moment you take control of yourself, meaning your thoughts and your actions, you will feel a reduction in fear.

Please remember these things:

  • The only one we can control is ourself and the only action we control is our own.
  • We will never be in control of our life if we don’t take control.
  • Last, the goal here is to increase responsiveness (conscious, mindful thought and action) and decrease reactivity (unconscious, triggered thoughts and actions).

Photo courtesy of Jano Kray

Hi and Welcome back!

An extraordinary life is an ongoing creative process and the main creativity tools that we all have at our disposal are our thoughts.

Did you know that the average person has 65,000 thoughts a day? The creative power in that is astounding. The problem is that most people have the same 65,000 thoughts everyday!

Our thoughts will do one of three things for us:

1. Expand us

2. Freeze us

3. Take us down

Which do you want your thoughts to do for you? You DO have to choose because “extraordinary”doesn’t happen by accident. It requires purposeful intent, followed by relentless courageous action.

In my last blog I invited you to practice imagining, and then defining, exactly what you want in your life. I also asked you to watch your thoughts as you began this process because, as a coach, I know that the #1 reason people don’t fulfill their potential is that they succumb to habitual negative thought patterns.

Please read this next paragraph slowly and carefully:

We overcharge negative thoughts and situations with more meaning than they deserve. In reality, they are simply the clarifying catalysts that help us remember who we really are: Powerful Creators! We tend to learn by contrast. In other words, we are experiencing “this” and it makes us realize we want “that”. The job of negative thoughts and situations is to provide the exact contrasting experience we need to wakeup and choose to either expand, freeze or fall.

Kick some “But” and Embrace some “And”

It goes like this:

1. You, the desiring creator have this thought: “I want a career that provides the opportunity for me to use my strengths, contribute meaningfully, make fantastic money and have the flexibility I want as I raise my kids.”

2. Habitual negative thought, the catalyst chimes in unconsciously: “BUT…that isn’t very likely. Everybody wants this, who do you think you are? You have to sacrifice and you can’t have it all.”

3. You, the conscious, powerful creator kicking some “BUT” and having a chat with yourself: “Wait a minute. I don’t even believe that thought. Whose voice is that anyway? (Important to answer this so that you can know who you are unconsciously giving control to and stop it).  What I really believe is that this idea has come to me because I have exactly what it takes to manifest it. This negative thought has simply showed me that I need to stay awake, or I will never achieve what I know I am capable of accomplishing. The thought I am going to replace that negative one with is: Without question, I AM going to create the life I want, AND, everything I need to make it happen is available to me. I open fully, right now, to the effortless flow of everything I need to make this dream my reality.”

How does THAT thought feel? Let your feelings guide you as to whether your thoughts are helping or hindering you.

Remember, growth is about action. So, next step: As you begin to have these conversations with yourself, notice  how, when and where fear enters the scene.

Next Blog is on one of my favorite 4 letter “F” words …FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real.. Another Unexpected Ally in Living An Extraordinary Life!

Please share what has worked for you to overcome negative thoughts. Also, please let me know what topics you would like me to write about that would be helpful. 

 

Photo courtesy of Jano Kray

Hi and Welcome!

 It is spring and many of us are preparing to plant our gardens. Before I ready the soil or buy the plants, I take the time to imagine the garden in full bloom. I let my imagination play with the different colors, textures and fragrances that I want to include.

I see myself sitting in the garden having my morning cappuccino and watching the hummingbirds and bees dancing among the burst of colorful flowers while the birds sing in the trees above me. 

I imagine this in such detail that I not only see exactly what I want to plant but I tune in to the feeling that I want to have every time I look onto, or sit in the garden.

 As you begin your plan to Live An Extraordinary Life, it starts with exactly this process.  
 
 
Life can either happen on purpose or by accident. It is totally up to you but “Extraordinary” requires mindful attention and what I have learned is that we cannot create what we cannot imagine.
 
 So, start with these 2 steps and next blog we’ll take it from there. 
 
  1. First, imagine your life exactly as you want it.  Think through every detail. Write it down if it helps.
  2. As you are imagining this, observe any thoughts that show up that do not fully support your vision…then invite them to go on vacation to Madagascar and then return to seeing your perfect life!
 
Here is a short meditation to read daily from Ernest Holmes to help:

“I now affirm with complete acceptance that the Intelligence which created all things is leading and guiding me into the accomplishment of every good and worthwhile purpose. This Presence exists at the very center of my being and is flowing through me, establishing happiness, joy, abundance, harmonious living and a constructive use of the creative power of my mind. I am now open to new ideas, new hopes and new aspirations.”

 
 
 
 

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