Tag Archives: Dreams

Wake Up and Live Your Dreams

What a creative and honest video about the journey to achieving our dreams. Like the protagonist in the video, many of us DREAM about living a better version ourselves but get detoured along the way. How many of us can relate to the negative self-talk she experienced along the way and the drain that it placed on her energy level? The self-sabatoging behavior combined with the negative self-talk made achieving the goal virtually impossible. Will power is not enough to counter these powerful forces. However in the last two blog posts, we have been learning a proven 7-step strategy to overcoming these negative behaviors and achieving our goals.

Now we are ready for the next important step in creating permanent change: identify replacement behaviors. These are the actions that we will take INSTEAD of our usual disempowering behaviors. You’ve heard the saying “an empty space is soon filled.” Well it is not enough to simply STOP doing something that is unhelpful to our goals; we must also START doing something that advances us to our desired outcome. If I tell you to stop thinking about pink elephants, that’s all your mind fixates on. However if I tell you to concentrate on describing your mother’s smile, your focus on your mother will block out any distracting thoughts- including pink elephants.

One of the reasons why diets do not work is because they focus people on what they are stoping rather than what they are starting. I worked with a great nutritionist who helped to cure me of my sugar addiction using this principle. Rather than asking me to STOP eating sugar, she told me to eat as much green vegetable and protein as I could. I never felt deprived because I was always eating and I never missed the sugar because my body’s chemistry was reset by the protein and green vegetables. I no longer “craved” sugar.

What you focus on gets magnified. So if you focus on STOPING your disempowering behaviors, their power will grow. Likewise if you focus on STARTING new empowering behaviors, they too will grow. This is the part of the change process where we often experience the most difficulty. We decide that we want to start eating vegetables instead of cake or start getting up early exercise instead of sleeping, but we don’t. So let me share with you the million dollar secret to replacing disempowering behaviors with more empowering ones.

In order to effectively replace a disempowering behavior, the alternative behavior must accomplish two things. First it must be easy and attractive and secondly it must meet the same need as the disempowering behavior. You see why we can’t proceed without doing the work in step 2 of analyzing the disempowering behavior? Our bad habits may not move us toward our goals but they are easy to do and fulfill important needs. Any actions that can effectively replace them MUST have these characteristics as well. So if you want to replace unnhealthy eating habits with more healthy choices, you have to make the healthy options just as EASY and ATTRACTIVE. Telling yourself (or your child) to eat the broccoli just “because it’s good for you” won’t work.

Yet, even if your alternative behavior is easy and attractive, it will not be effectively implemented regularly unless it MEETS THE SAME NEED as the disempowering behavior. Remember the law of positive intent? When we have an unmet need, our brains focus on behaviors that in the past allowed us to meet that need. In order for our alternative behavior to be successful in these situations, the replacement behavior must legitimately fulfill the same need.

So the journey of creating permanent positive change requires serious introspection and creativity. This is the real work of change. Are you ready? Brainstorm at least three possible replacement behaviors for each disempowering behavior you identified in the earlier two posts. Once you have your list, screen the behaviors to see if they meet the criteria for a effective replacement: easy/attractive and fulfills one of the universal needs. Please involve as many people as possible in this brainstorming process so that you can benefit from the collective wisdom of your community. Good luck and I look forward to hearing what you come up with in your process.


You Are Just a Few Degrees Away from Your Dreams

Can we really accomplish the changes that we want to see in our lives?

To borrow a refrain from President Obama’s campaign “YES WE CAN!” Change is possible and you have everything you need to bring about the changes of your dreams. As Tony Robbins explains in the video above, the difference between your current life and changes you desire is often 1-2 millimeters. Here you will find some resources to help you make these small but necessary changes.

A critical step in implementing permanent change is understanding the function of disempowering behavior. Disempowering behavior refers to any actions that stand between you and the person you want to be. As you attempt to implement positive change in your life, what specific habits/ behaviors interfer with your progress? These are the disempowering behaviors that must be addressed. Too often we rely on sheer will power to overcome disempowering behaviors. Yet will power always fails. It may bring us temporary success, but will power alone will never produce permanent change.

Analyzing our disempowering behaviors is essiential for our success because our brain works according to something known as positive intent. Positive intent means that our brains desire to create a positive experience for us and when we have an unmet need our brains will focus on experiences in the past that have met that need (even if these behaviors are no longer appropriate). For example, if we are feeling unloved or un-noticed, we may rely on a habit of whining or complaining to meet our legitimate need for love and attention, eventhough such behavior may no longer be appropriate and may strain our relationships. The law of positive intent requires that we understand why we habitually turn to these disempowering behaviors before we can overcome them. Trust me, ALL disempowering behavior fulfills some need and you would not continue this action if it did not fill a need for you in some way.

There are five needs theorized to be universal to all humans. Use the list below and identify which needs are being fulfilled by your disempowering behaviors. If you need assistance with this activity, please enlist the help of a friend or send me an email. The five needs that all humans share are:

1. the need to feel safe and secure
2. the need to be loved and be noticed
3. the need to be important and competent
4. the need to be autonomous and free
5. the need to feel worthy

I want 2011 to be a great year for you and that requires dealing head on with disempowering behaviors. I am hosting a live chat on twitter (tweetchat.com #7steps) to present the next step in overcoming your disempowering behaviors. Please reflect on the needs filled by your disempowering behaviors and join me on twitter tomorrow, March 22nd at 8pm (EST) to continue your journey toward making permanent positive change. If you have friends, co-workers, or relatives who have also expressed frustration at the process of creating positive change, please share this blog post with them and invite them to join us on 3/22 for step three in the seven step process of making permanent change.

7 Steps to Permanent Change

At the start of the New Year, people often identify changes they’d like to see in their lives and some even set up plans to achieve this desired change. However by mid -March many of these plans have been laid aside and the goals re-framed as unattainable “wishes”. This need not be the case for you. If you are disappointed and frustrated in your current level of progress on your goals for 2011, I’d like to share with you the first of a seven step plan for making permanent change. Remember that by effectively implementing small changes, you can create an arc of change that leads you to the life of your dreams.

Once you have identified the changes you’d like to make in your life, the first step to effectively accomplishing this is to connect these desired changes with your life purpose and values. Why do you want this change in your life? How will your life be better once you’ve accomplished your goal? Purpose is the driving force that gives you the energy and inspiration to keep you going when implementing the changes you desire. The more clearly aligned your desired change is with your life purpose, the more successful you will be.

Too often we list self-improvement goals based on other people’s actions and values rather than our own. For my clients who insist that they want to lose weight but can never find time to exercise, we explore whether this goal is a personal value or something they feel they “should do.” As Master coach Kim George always says “stop shoulding all over yourself.” Personal development is NOT about making yourself conform to other people’s expectations and values. It’s about discovering who you WANT to be and creating a support structure to live out your greatness.

If there is anything on your list of positive change that you do not truly WANT to do, please cross it off the list. If you are unwilling to remove it from the list, please spend time considering how this goal connects to your core values and priorities so that you WILL want to achieve this. The answer to the question “why do you want to change” is the first and most important step in creating permanent positive change.

Please share your desired change and how it connects to your purpose. Over the next few posts, I will continue to share with you aspects of the the 7 steps for permanent change. I’m also hosting a live chat on twitter on this topic Tuesday, March 22nd at 8pm EST. To participate in the discussion simply use #7steps on tweetchat.com. You can also connect with me on twitter @coachKesha. I’m looking forward to all that we will accomplish in 2011!

Lessons on the Power of a Dream

Today we celebrate the birth and life of a great American prophet, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As I reflect on his life and listen to his speeches, I am moved by how clearly he saw his vision and how well he was able to communicate it to inspire others to action. In this video clip, Dr. King reminds us that our collective dream of justice, freedom, equality, community is inevitable. Although Dr. King’s dream has yet to be fulfilled, I share his certainty that our beloved community is sure to become a reality.

What allowed Dr. King to wholeheartedly believe in the reality of his dream inspite of the pervasive brutality of racial segregation and the long history of discrimintation and oppression in the country he so loved? I believe that there are three clear lessons that we can take from this speech about the power of a dream. These lessons can help us maintain our own dreams for justice and equality as well as our inividual dreams of positive change in our own lives. So what does this speech reveal about the power of a dream?

The clarity of your vision determines its power.

1. Dreams require that we focus more on our vision than on our circumstances. In Dr. King’s speeches, he spent more time talking about his vision than describing the reality of the current situation. This is not to suggest that he had his head in the sand. Dr. King’s continual focus on his vision provided him with the strength to choose different actions than many of his contemporaries. He was able to act differently because of the clarity of his vision. Dr. King went beyond positive thinking, to positive knowing! Listen to the certainty and conviction in his voice. This is an appropriate lesson for all of us to internalize. The clearer we are on what we want and the more time we spend visualizing our goals, the more confident we will become in the certainty of their accomplishment. Likewise, the easier it will be for us to choose actions that support that vision. Unfortunately, we often spend more time  talking about what we don’t want, than we do imagining our goals. Dr. King’s power of action was fueled by the clarity of his dream.

All dreams require daily acts of sacrifice.

2. Dreams require that we discipline our selves to live in support of the dream. In the speech the night before his assignation, Dr. King acknowledges that death might be a necessary part of the journey to fulfill his dream. More importantly, he stated that he was willing to pay that price. While this is a grand sacrifice, this is not the only sacrifice that Dr. King was forced to pay for his dream. Dr. King’s discussion of how “history has seized me” acknowledged that he was but a man but was committed to live a life bigger than himself because of the power of his vision.  Likewise, there is a price each of us must pay for the accomplishment of our dream. It might be a sacrifice of sleep, it may be sacrificing relationships or finances; it will most certainly include sacrificing our comfort.  Dr. King was able to live these acts of sacrifice daily because of the passion with which he embraced his dream, and we can too.

Your dreams require the support of others.

3. Dreams require that we invite the participation of others in the accomplishment of our dreams. Thank God Dr. King did not keep his dream to himself. Dr. King’s descriptions of his vision was so vivid and so passionate that it awakened similar dreams in others (and continues to do so). As great and courageous a man as he was, Dr. King was NOT the Civil Rights Movement and did not accomplish all these gains ALONE. Dr. King’s dream was so big that it would be impossible for him to achieve it on his own. He needed the cooperation and support of hundreds of thousands of people.  Likewise, we can not accomplish our dreams alone. We often require the support of our families, friends, colleagues, fellow citizens, ect. to accomplish the goals we set for ourselves. Dr. King’s life teaches us that in order to get the cooperation of our supporters, and at times our enemies, we must clearly communicate our vision in both word and deed.

Please share your thoughts on the lessons you have learned from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and how you celebrate his birthday and his legacy. I look forward to hearing from you.

The Perfect Trap

Don't let perfectionism rob you of your dreams.

Do you know the average number of times a person attempts to accomplish his/her goal? It is less than one time. Meaning that many of us have goals that we never begin to fulfill. I believe that one of the biggest killers of dreams is the trap of perfectionism.

Most of us dream of living full, exciting lives and accomplishing great things. We dream about creating more intimacy in our relationships. We dream about taking a new direction in our career. We dream about giving significant sums of money to the causes and people we care about. We dream about living a life of meaning that makes a positive difference in this world. But what steps are we taking to make our dreams a reality?

Too often we fail to act on our dreams because our goals are so big and we believe ourselves to be so small. We are waiting for the perfect time, the perfect situation, or the perfect version of us to appear so that we can fully pursue our goals. If you have not already realized this, let me tell you that perfect time will never come.

Don’t let the trap of perfectionism rob you of your ability to take action on your dream. You may not be able to do all that you want to do at this time, but there is something today that YOU CAN DO to bring you one step closer to your goal. Look up and see the numerous opportunities surrounding you and act on your dreams. HINT: these opportunities oftentimes come disguised as “challenges.”

When asked about what led her into a career of leadership, one of my mentors described it as “an annoying phone ringing that no one else would answer.” She saw an opportunity, disguised as a problem, and was willing to bring herself and all that she had to offer to the situation. This is the heart of leadership and the key to accomplishing your goals.

Will you answer the call?

What phones do you hear ringing within you? Don’t let your dreams die of neglect. The perfect time is NOW and the perfect person is YOU, no matter how problematic they both are. Getting into action on your goals will create the resources needed to fulfill them. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of a good and meaningful life. Bootstrap your way to success!

The 3P’s of Goal Setting

You cannot hit a target you don't define.

Reflecting on my past year and my goals for the new year, I re-read Brian Tracy’s famous book “Goals”. In this book he identified three principles that are necessary to “program our subconscious minds” to achieve our goals. I found this to be a valuable resource and wanted to share his suggestions with you as you embark on the process of casting your vision for the new year.

Tracy suggests that we write goals with the 3Ps in mind: present, positive, and personal. Writing goals using these three principles dramatically increases both the probability and speed with which we achieve our goals.

1. Present. Our goals are more effective in the present tense. Rather than saying “I will exercise three times per week”, we can say “I exercise three times per week”. By writing our goals as if we have already accomplished them, we practice seeing ourselves as successfully achieving our dreams. This is similar to the “mental rehearsals” that many high-performing athletes use to prepare themselves.

2. Positive. Our goals are more effective when written as positive statements. This is one principle that I have often broken in my previous goal setting activities. Stating goals positively means focusing on the presence of what we desire in our lives, not the absence of something we dislike. I’ve often included on my goal setting lists, statements such as “get rid of the clutter in the office”. However, if stated positively my goal would read “I have a clean and organized office.” I can literally feel the difference in my emotions when I switch to the positive statement. Stating goals positively takes our focus off what we don’t want and onto what we DO want. Remember what we focus on, gets magnified.

3. Personal. Our goals are more effective when stated using the word “I”. Instead of writing “my goal is…”, we can write ” I weigh X lbs., I am a nonsmoker, I am the senior administrator of X company”. Tracy describes the power of “I” statements as submitting a factory order to your subconscious mind who will immediately go to work trying to figure out how to deliver.

Goals are an important and powerful component of both success and happiness. I hope this helps you in writing better goals and achieving them. Happy New Year!

Learning from failure

Frustrated by Failure

Too often fear keeps us from identifying and going after our goals. We are afraid that we won’t be able to have the life that we want, so why bother dreaming. Or we get stuck in the dreaming/planning stage of our life without ever putting into action our plans to achieve our dreams. Both are the products of fear of failure. What would happen if we saw failure not as something that prevents us from accomplishing our dreams, but rather an essential part of the process? How might eradicating the fear of failure free you up to fully pursue and realize your dreams?

What gets labeled as “failure” is actually useful information that hold the keys to our success. Trial and error is an essential part of science and of life. All practicing scientists implement this system because they know that they can never accomplish the goal (e.g. cure for a disease) without trying out what is currently their “best educated guess” (hypothesis). Even if the experiment proves the scientist’s hypothesis wrong (which happens in most research), the experiment is not a “failure”. It has given the researcher and other researchers interested in this problem, valuable information to help them better understand and address the problem. Every scientific breakthrough and piece of technology that we have is the result of innumerable “failures”.



I am an observer of my own life.

So today take on the identity of a scientist studying your own life. Observe the activity and outcomes of your life without judgement. What yesterday you may have labeled as a “failure” today is simply “data”. Use that data to readjust your activity until you reach your goal.

If your goal is to stop eating fast food and you find yourself chomping on a Big Mac, don’t judge yourself and say you have failed. This is valuable “data”.  Did you arrive at McDonald’s because you were working late and didn’t prepare a meal? Did you go there with friends who don’t share your goal of avoiding fast food? Are you there because you only have $5 in your budget for lunch and can’t afford a salad at Panera? Each situation provides a different understanding of the problem and the potential solution. By observing you behavior without judgement you are better able to learn from your “failures” and plan for your success.

Good luck to all you future scientists, I look forward to seeing what you will accomplish through your method of observation, evaluation, and action. Fail your way to success!