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Through Her Eyes

December 20, 2011

I love observing my daughter. In fact, I laugh quite a bit when I do, because I realize how much I was like her when I was her age. Do you remember when you were 7…how you saw the world from those little, brilliant eyes? Was it very different from your perspective today?

Nia, happy, in character

Watching her, I remember things that make my spirit flicker. I remember dancing and singing without inhibition in front of ceiling-to-floor mirrors. In my eyes and in my heart I felt and looked amazing–all the time (that rocks!)– and I could be whoever I wanted to be… Sandy in Grease, Pippi in Pippi Long Stockings, Annie, etc., you get the picture. Yet, the most exciting part of her world is her exploration of everything, indoors or outdoors, and her almost complete avoidance of TV.

She doesn’t care much about that world in the screen, but the one in her mind and in her heart.

Now, I’m not recommending living in La La Land, but, what if we could keep that flame flickering? In fact, what if we made sure we didn’t allow it to burn out? How would daily, mundane tasks in life feel different? Think about it. Really, really think about it. I am.

When I visualize myself now, seeing life through my daughter’s eyes, I notice myself smiling, A LOT. I feel lighter, happier, healthier, and in awe of everything. In fact, through her perspective I think of a situation that normally would drive me into a tizzy, and it just seems so petty now– simply meaningless. In fact, petty, ego-driven and non-creative meanderings would most likely not even capture an iota of her attention. They would simply fly past her like a feather in the wind.

Yes, through my child’s eyes I get to determine what has meaning and what doesn’t. That’s powerful!

So, although we always want to tackle a great BIG goal each new year, what I’m suggesting is that we do something quite simple: see this new year through the eyes of a child, and more specifically, our child within. My sense is that in doing this one simple thing we’ll achieve more goals and more happiness, with greater ease.

Here’s my Five Step Prescription:

1. GO BACK. Find a photo of yourself as a child, that you absolutely love; one that without question speaks to who you are at your core.

2. TAKE NOTE. Grab a sheet of paper and without thinking, write down the first five words (adjectives or verbs) that capture the essence of your child spirit. Then, think of five specific memories (one for each word) that bring to life each word.

3. COME INTO THE NOW. Find a photo of yourself, today, that you love! If you don’t have one, take one!

4. BRING YOUR WORDS TO LIFE. Take your five words and now clearly define how you can lead with them and live them out daily– in the now.

5. SEE IT. LIVE IT. Take a large enough poster board, or create a screen saver of your two photos, your five words, and your new actions. Look at it daily. This is a new twist to the standard vision board– much less time consuming, and more powerful.

Are you laughing at my photo? I hope so. That’s what I’m doing, and that’s exactly the feeling I’m after. I love everything about this photo because it points to things I loved experiencing as a child: my secret hiding place (yes, behind this flower bush was my hollow hide out!); my first bike which tattooed me with a scar the first time I fell off it, and which allowed me to explore the world around me; my Mickey T, which represented one of my favorite fantasy lands– Disney; and my cowboy boots, which I loved to dance in and that reminds me of the little pony I once rode and connected with. And, best of all, my David Lee Roth jump that says it all.
It says, “I’m Kick A_ _!”

It’s funny. Looking at this photo brings me to present day, where my daughter creates the strangest ensembles which make me cry out, “You can’t leave the house looking like that!” But from her vantage point, each piece of the ensemble means something to her; it’s a piece of her very personal puzzle and she can care less what anyone thinks about it. To her, it’s the best ensemble ever that screams, “This is me, people! Love it or leave it!” That’s exactly how I felt in this picture. It’s a precious reminder.

If you’re looking for a way to bring 2011 to a close and begin to bring in some authentic energy for 2012, give my prescription a try, and enjoy re-connecting with your inner child…your true self.

Cheers to a passion-filled new year.

Namaste,

Monique

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by cruel shoes

“I didn’t set out to get you to quit your job or to persuade you to become an entrepreneur or merely to change the entire world. All I wanted to do in this book was to sell you on being the artist you already are. To make a difference. To stand for something. To get the respect and security you deserve.”

It is clear to me that Godin’s goal in writing this book (Linchpin) is simple: Know your power. Live your art. Have no regrets. If you do these three things, you may very well achieve the fulfillment in life you’ve always desired; enjoy your career and hobbies, and be surrounded by individuals who truly see you, appreciate you, and want you to thrive. In fact, they won’t be able to live without you.

You can’t live this kind of life if you let your lizard brain dominate. No. Surrender the cog tendencies of conformity, obedience, and compliance. Instead, you should embody passion, compassion, dignity, humanity, and generosity. Know your gifts and be generous with them. Connect with others in meaningful ways with your gifts. This cycle of gift giving should never end. Be indispensable.

Because so many of us at times feel stuck in our careers, however, I feel it is important to share Godin’s perspective of thinking– “My boss won’t let me.” Gosh, I’ve been there (just like you!), but how’s this for an “aha” moment:

“You think your boss won’t let you (be an “artist”), at the very same moment that your boss can’t understand why you won’t contribute more insight or enthusiasm. In most non-cog jobs, the boss’s biggest lament is that her people won’t step up and bring their authentic selves to work.”

Does this change your mind at all? See…it all truly lies within. Don’t give your power away, embrace it and decide to be a Linchpin. As we’ve discussed in earlier blogs this month, being a Linchpin is a CHOICE.

How can you be more authentic and bring more insight and enthusiasm to your job? Imagine that you are doing so in this moment and see how energized you feel.

If you are still a bit stuck with finding your “art,” ponder upon this question I came across on one of my favorite blogger’s (D. LaPorte) posting’s– “What’s dying to be born?” I just adore this question, and have written it on my work board so that I can ask it of myself over and over, so that I don’t stop creating my art.

And, now, I ask you… What’s dying to be born?”

Wouldn’t it be great if your co-workers and your boss begin to ask you, “Who are you, and where have you been hiding?” Nice.

Know your power. Live your art. Have no regrets. Go do it.

I will leave you with some food for thought Godin shares at the end of the book (And, Seth, thanks for the gift of your book!):

Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.

Sing in your own voice.

Do the work. Please.

Don’t worry about finding inspiration, it comes eventually.

You are responsible for your own experience.

Ignore everybody.

Avoid the water cooler gang.

The hardest part of being creative is getting used to it.

Dying young is overrated.
………………………………………

Live young at HeART, and prosper!

Namaste,

Monique

My Relaxed Book Club will discuss selections from books I feel help high-achieving professionals continue to develop themselves and work on their personal leadership leading to more fulfilled, balanced and successful lives and careers.

“The least strained and most natural ways of the soul are the most beautiful; the best occupations are the least forced.” – Michel de Montaigne

Happiness is such a great topic to discuss don’t you think? The Happiness Project has truly been a fun book to read. Not only have I learned a lot about the science behind happiness, but it was inspiring to follow someone along their 12-month journey to become happier; someone who has a lot of the same challenges many of us do—being authentic, having meaningful relationships, getting the most out of and growing in your career, and being a fantastic, loving mother, among many other goals. You don’t feel so alone on your journey when others are right there with you. It’s comforting.

There are so many reflection points for me in this book that I can blog about it forever, but in the spirit of reading and sharing with you many wonderful books, I will choose to end my happiness observations by chatting about passion. Gretchen Rubin’s theme for the month of September is “Pursue a Passion.” According to Rubin, “Happiness research predicts that making time for passion and treating it as a real priority instead of an ‘extra’ to be fitted in at a free moment (which many people practically never have) will bring a tremendous happiness boost.”

Would you say the same is true for you? It is for me. I can share many examples, but a fresh one is reading. Reading is a passion of mine, and through my blog and my Relaxed Book Club (for personal development), reading has become one of my top priorities for 2010.

Rubin challenged herself to write a fifty-thousand-word novel in thirty days, which amounts to 1,667 words a day. Yikes! Well, for her it was so thrilling. Rubin shared: “Writing a novel provided the ‘atmosphere of growth’ that, I was becoming more and more convinced, was essential to happiness; I’d included this element in my First Splendid Truth, but it was even more significant than I’d initially understood. The satisfaction gained from the achievement of a large undertaking is one of the most substantial that life affords.”

What passion is just an “extra” in your life right now that you can make a priority to give you a happiness boost?

So was Rubin’s Happiness Project successful? She believes it was. I will let you enjoy the read as I did and check out her happy ending, but I will share that because she was able to work on the kinds of things she truly enjoys versus those things which are more forced, she really loved working on her goals for September. She also gives much of the credit for her success to her Resolution Chart, which was her daily “Bible” and kept her on track.  If you’d like to see a copy of Rubin’s Resolution Chart you can send her an email to: grubin@gretchenrubin.com. Just type “Resolution Chart” in the subject line.

So, care to continue with me on my journey? March’s selection for my Relaxed Book Club is Linchpin: Are you Indispensable? by Seth Godin. In his new book, Godin examines how a person becomes indispensable. It is a person within an organization who acts as an artist, puts his/her soul and passion into the work; it is  “emotional work.”  Sounds amazing….I can’t wait to begin (today!) and I hope you will join me.

My Relaxed Book Club will discuss selections from books I feel help high-achieving professionals continue to develop themselves and work on their personal leadership leading to more fulfilled, balanced and successful lives and careers.

Happy Trails, my friends!
Monique