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I’m thinking HAPPINESS! The summer sunshine must have something to do with it! Like me, do you get happy when you see the sun rise, or when you feel its warmth on your body? Things seem to slow just enough during the summer, kicking up my HQ, or Happiness Quotient! But when there’s no sunshine (literally or otherwise) what happens? 
 
Today, my thoughts are on happiness. What does being “happy” really mean and how can we be happy more often? In fact, how can we be conscious enough to know exactly when we need to turn it up and make it more present? After lots of thought, including looking deeply at my own happiness patterns, I believe it is possible to switch it on at a moments notice. (I don’t know that I’m capable of believing otherwise, but many of you probably know that about me by now! 🙂 )

So, what are those things that tend to turn down our happiness or keep it at bay? There are certain “buttons” that may be unique for each of us, but for the most part, these may be some of the culprits:

  • Stress
  • Conflict
  • Overwhelm
  • Sudden change
  • Loneliness
  • Loss or grief
  • Poor health
  • Financial distress

You get the picture, and I’m sure you can add more items to this list. The specifics behind the culprit may not even be that drastic and yet still can bring us into a state of unhappiness. I’ve written many times about moments when little things threw me way off, like a silly comment by someone. Perhaps my HQ was a 10 before that comment, but suddenly fell to a 4! My mind chatter grew stronger and stronger as I realized how I let that comment drown my sunshine—my happiness!

So, in moments like that, or even heavier ones, how do we pick ourselves up quickly and turn up our HQ? Well, here’s a simple to remember tool that I whipped up that may work for you. And, it happens to be called “H.A.P.P.Y”!  Ask yourself one or more of the following questions when you feel your HQ dropping quickly, and see it rise just in time to put you back into an optimal state.

 

H – (Hope) – How can I be hopeful right now?

When we feel frazzled and unhappy, most of the time our mind chatter spirals down into dark, negative thoughts. For example, if the state of your home is drowning your HQ, instead of thinking, “There is no hope for this house today. My weekend will be ruined because I’m going to have to spend all my time cleaning, and then I’ll be exhausted and will have no energy to do anything!”….we should instead question—“Where’s the hope in this situation? It looks like I will need to do the dishes, wash a few loads of laundry, and organize the toys. If I break up these tasks throughout the weekend, including getting one out of the way right now, I should be able have the kind of weekend I envisioned!” See the difference? The moment you shift your thoughts from despair to hope, your feelings follow right along and pick you up.
 

A – Acceptance – How can accepting this situation help me?

In Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth, Tolle explains the power of “awakened doing”, that is, being fully engaged (conscious) in what we are doing. According to Tolle there are three modalities of awakened doing: (1) acceptance, (2) enjoyment, and (3) enthusiasm. Each one represents a certain vibrational frequency of consciousness. In essence, at least one of these needs to be operating at all times whenever we are engaged in doing anything. If not, then we are most likely creating suffering for ourselves and others, or unhappiness. Tolle concludes this idea by saying that, “On the surface, acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it is active and creative because it brings something entirely new into the world”—peace, subtle energy and surrendered action.So, in moments where we have no desire to be joyful or enthusiastic, we can employ acceptance and we’ll be bringing peace and surrender to the situation.

P – (Patience) – How can I bring patience to the situation?

Is it realistic to drive up our emotions when some things are not within our control? With regard to the house chores, I could ponder if I need to do everything right now? What can wait? Is my need to ‘do it all now’ typically lower my HQ? An important question I could ask and see if there is a pattern within that need.

Using a new example, let’s say you had an argument with your significant other and are very eager to state your feelings and get the conflict resolved. If you are angry in the moment, how do you think the conversation will go? Would it be better to create some space between your intended discussion to think of what and how you will communicate to him/her? Patience provides this space, and most of the time, a more positive outcome.

 

P – (Perseverance) – How can I persist; rise above?

Some situations that keep us from feeling happy are difficult and may not be resolved as quickly as we’d like. For example, perhaps we are dealing with a very sick relative and we are anticipating their loss. The feeling of loss is one that can easily permeate throughout all areas of our life. Understanding what healing we can bring to the situation and creating within us a feeling of fight and survival can really pull us through. We may not know what the outcome will be, but wouldn’t it feel better to intend for a positive result? Perseverance can lift our spirits, and therefore our HQ, because we are fighting for something that is worth our time and attention, regardless of how negative it may seem in the moment. Remember, when the going gets tough, the tough get going!

 

Y – (You!) – How are YOU responsible for your unhappiness?

This is my favorite. The key to happiness is within each of us…its power is within YOU! We have all heard this before, but it is always worth repeating and believing it—the only person that can make you happy is YOU. We must take personal responsibility for our thoughts, feelings and actions. Understanding how our thoughts often sink us is important. YOU create your thoughts…so create powerful and empowering thoughts in every moment for many happy moments!

Interestingly enough, we also can do something as simple as smiling to lift our spirits. In an article I once read in Oprah, the author explains how when we smile, or even sigh (release), our Vagus nerve is working behind the scenes to reduce our heart rate and calm our immune response. Cool! No wonder smiling feels good.

Additionally, the article sites the importance of the hormone, Oxytocin, which releases when we do things like watch sentimental commercials, or laugh at funny tv shows. It is the hormone that uplifts us. Ahh! Evidence that we simply could sit on the couch, eat popcorn, and watch funny movies, or cry at heart tugging commercials!

So, although happiness can be explained scientifically (via the Vagus Nerve and the creation of Oxytocin) and we can cause it by smiling and laughing, we also can drive happiness in our lives by paying close attention to our thoughts— changing them, and acting upon our new, powerful thoughts.

What new thoughts and actions will you create to shift up your HQ? I’d love to hear from you!

In closing, here’s a great quote that is woven into a beautiful dish towel that my wonderful friend Lou gifted to me a while back—“Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself!”

Now, smile, laugh, and go create your fabulous, HAPPY life! 

Monique

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Running my Internet marketing firm means I work very long, hard hours.  I lead our sales efforts, drive our creative teams and oversee program quality.  I work tirelessly on the processes we use and people we hire to become more efficient and less dependent upon me.  My hope is to work myself out of a job over the next several years.

It’s easy to mistakenly say to yourself, “When I accomplish all these things and achieve all these goals, I’ll be happy.”  That’s not the way happiness works.

A speaker at a men’s prayer breakfast I attend shared a quote that sheds some light on this.  It says,

The ego says, “Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.”

The spirit says, “Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place.”

 

I’d like to convince myself that once my business gets streamlined and funded and I become successful (whatever that means), I’ll be happy.  I’ll be making more money.  I’ll have more freedom to travel and more time to spend with my loved ones.  “Of course I’ll be happy, right?”

The problem is this is it assumes you can control your way to happiness.  In this make-believe world, happiness comes to those that achieve.  You know what? I make an income today that in my twenties was far beyond my definition of filthy rich.  I now run the business I could only dream of running when I was younger.  I’ve accomplished a lot.

Yet my success to date hasn’t brought me happiness.  What does make me happy is sharing tapas and dinner with my wife of thirty years, family and friends.  It’s sitting down with my daughter to discuss a job offer she’s just received.  (She actually confides in me and asks for my input.)  It’s realizing my youngest daughter who’ll be off to college is well prepared and excited about leaving the nest and taking on this new challenge.  It’s helping an employee with a paycheck advance she’ll be using to purchase her first home.

Notice it is NOT the accomplishments that bring me happiness.  It’s the place my head is at that enables me to appreciate what happens in my life’s journey.  It’s based on awareness and the nurturing of relationships with people I love.

 

Here’s a word picture for you.  Happiness does 505697585NOT come from focusing on my mobile device GPS map thinking of the happiness I’ll feel when my car arrives at my destination. 

It comes from:

  • Opening the car windows,
  • • Feeling the rush of the wind,
  • • Holding the hand of the lady next to me who’s been putting up with me all these years,
  • • Appreciating the moon rise in front of us which I would typically miss and
  • • Keeping my mind free from tomorrow’s to-do list and mental clutter so I don’t miss out on the happiness of my situation.

 

My Uncle Max passed away recently and I shared a few moments with his daughter Adriana after the burial.   I don’t see her often because she is now a sister in the Mother Theresa order of nuns serving the poorest of the poor in Mexico.

My uncle had a sly sense of humor and really appreciated the ironies in life.  My cousin lives a very basic life with zero in the way of worldly possessions.  She explained to me the irony of riding in a black limousine to the cemetery.   A friend of hers joked about taking a picture of her in full nun garb sitting in the driver’s seat of the Porche 911 parked next to the limo.  We all smiled because we knew how this would all strike Uncle Max.  “I’m sure Dad’s cracking up right now,” she said.

 

Happiness comes when you least expect it and from the least likely of things.  Don’t miss out.

 


jdiaz-medium

Jorge Lazaro Diaz
Founder/Chief Internet Marketing and Technology Officer of Larry Jacob Internet Marketing

Jorge Lazaro Diaz is the Founder and President of Larry Jacob Internet Marketing. His expertise comes with strong marketing, copy writing and technology skills delivering Internet Marketing, Infusionsoft Automation and Website Design solutions that deliver results to small and medium sized businesses.

 
 
 

Born to be Wild

May 7, 2014

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“According to this law [the law of Dharma], you have a unique talent and a unique way of expressing it. There is something that you can do better than anyone else in the whole world — and for every unique talent and unique expression of that talent, there are also unique needs. When these needs are matched with the creative expression of your talent, that is the spark that creates affluence. Expressing your talents to fulfill needs creates unlimited wealth and abundance.” Deepak Chopra

Are you born to be wild, or are you born to be quiet and focused?

Do you ever wonder why you make certain choices?

Why you do what you do?

Why you like certain things?

Why you are better at some things than others?

I remember being terrified about some of my MBA courses. I was excited about being challenged to think, explore and debate, but the thought of analyzing financial statements or evaluating a corporate merger made me shake in my bones! Well, there is a reason why, of course! I was not born to be a CFO or an Accountant, but I certainly was born to communicate, to learn and share what I’ve learned, and help others maximize their talents. Those specific MBA classes were certainly challenging, and I was certainly able to learn and apply some very important financial skills, but having me master those skills would forever be a waste of my time and gifts.

We know these things instinctually, I feel, but in our world of fixing “What’s wrong” we are often pressured to focus on what we are not and what we “should be.” This way of thinking, learning and living has become so engrained in our work and educational cultures, it’s no wonder individuals feel disengaged and “lost.” More and more I meet amazing, very accomplished people who want to deeply connect with who they are and be impactful in leading a life of deeper purpose.

As leaders, are we helping our team members contribute their best and grow in their strengths?

As parents, are we honoring our children’s unique talents and helping them to shine in what comes naturally to them?

These stats below tell us how crucial it is that we move in this direction:

Here’s what Gallup knows about using our talents:

  • People who know and use their talents and have the opportunity to use them at work are six times as likely to be engaged in their job.
  • People who know their talents and have the opportunity to use them at work are more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life.
  • People who use their strengths every day have 7.8% greater productivity.

Weakness fixing prevents failure.

Strengths-building leads to success.

Identifying our strengths and the strengths of others doesn’t have to be rocket science. You can do it through self-awareness, through input from others (on what you’re awesome at and examples of when you are at your best!), and you certainly can use one of the best tools out there—Gallup’s StrengthsFinder.

As a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach I not only love OWNING my strengths and making sure that I’m utilizing them to their fullest, but I also love helping others do the same. One of the most empowering things to do is share your strengths with others and honor YOU! So, I’m happy to share my top 5 with you:

LEARNER. MAXIMIZER. POSITIVITY.

INDIVIDUALIZATION. IDEATION.

Every time I read my talent themes my inner cheerleader does a back flip because I know that I am investing in them and making them stronger day-by-day.

Care to be inspired? Here’s someone who’s definitely using her strengths and non-apologetic about it. In fact, she’s rockin’ the medals!

Engagement numbers truly scare me. I picture the more than 70% of individuals in our workforce who are disengaged, bored, depressed and just working to collect a pay check and I am saddened. I imagine a world where we are all fully engaged and turned on, making things happen individually and together.

How are you maximizing your talents and gifts?

I’d love for you to share what you feel you were born to do.

Are you doing it?

Have you taken Strengths Finder? If so, please share your Top 5 with me!

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Wishing you a life well led,

Monique

“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

Think Big & Make Magic.

February 15, 2010

If this is your first time visiting my blog, you’ll notice that I’m currently blogging about some great books—books that inspire and teach us how to improve our lives in many ways. This month we’re talking about Happiness. Enjoy….

Making time for friends is such a huge part of my life. I realized long ago how connecting with my very close friends (even in small ways, like a weekly email or a Facebook post) and being open to new friendships brings me so much joy. This is why I love Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project goals for June, which include remembering birthdays, being generous, showing up, not gossiping, and making new friends. According to Rubin’s research the most meaningful contributor to happiness is having strong social bonds.

Taking this further, Rubin’s research showed that being generous (or providing support to others) strengthens the bonds of friendship and simply, makes us feel good. However, since she couldn’t (or didn’t want to) add more tasks to her day, whether they were the feel good type or not, she did realize that helping people think big and bringing people together were a few of the ways that she demonstrated generosity. These resonate very strongly with me, and when I explored my own “generous” actions, the same seemed to be true for me. I always seek creative/idea-building environments and thrive in them. And, as a professional development guru, I simply LOVE brainstorming with colleagues,  friends, and clients and watching them follow through on their magnificent, happiness-creating goals. The same goes with introducing one person to another, who together can create magic in some way. In business, we call them “referrals,” although now I’d rather call them “gifts.” When I do these things well, I definitely feel a surge of happy energy.

Here’s Rubin in her own words:

“I’d had a wonderful experience helping people think big myself. After Eliza started kindergarten, her nursery school arranged a reunion for all the children who had ‘graduated.’ While the children played with their former classmates, the nursery school directors, Nancy and Ellen, led a parent discussion about the kindergarten transition. As always, their insights were extremely helpful. When I stood up to leave I thought, ‘These two should write a book.’ I was immediately convinced that this was the greatest idea ever. I suggested it to them on the spot…I put them in touch with my agent…In a flash they had a book contract, and now Nancy Schulman and Ellen Birnbaum’s Practical Wisdom for Parents: Demystifying the Preschool Years is on the shelves. Knowing that I played a small role in their achievement made me intensely happy.”

How cool is that? To be able to help them think big and make one of their dreams come true…I’ll take that kind of happiness any day.

How do you help others think big?

What people can you bring together to create make some magic?

So, yes, as Rubin understood about herself during her Happiness Project, there are so many ways we can be generous, but they don’t always have to take up too much time or money or make us go out of our way. We can identify ways of being generous that are genuinely a part of who we are and what we already do.

Here’s a take-away…look for those “generous acts” in your life that are already present that you can turn up a notch to create more happiness in your life.

Let me know what you find.

-Monique


“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle,

and the life of the candle will not be shortened.

Happiness never decreases by being shared.” –Buddha

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.

This month I’m blogging about Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. I’m really enjoying her book, mostly because of the way she really puts herself out there. Connecting with her through her very human experiences is easy to do. I love this excerpt in particular, because it touches upon several things—working on ourselves and not others, learning how to be in a state of non-judgment  (a trait of highly successful people), and not sweating the small stuff.

Here it is…

I had come to understand one critical fact about my happiness project: I couldn’t change anyone else. As tempting as it was to try, I couldn’t lighten the atmosphere of our marriage by bullying Jaime into changing his ways. I could work only on myself. For inspiration, I turned to the twelfth of my Twelve Commandments: ‘There is only love.’

A friend of mine was the source of that commandment. She came up with the phrase when she was considering taking a high-pressure job where she’d be working for a notoriously difficult person. The person handling the process told her, ‘I’m going to be honest with you. John Doe is very effective, but he’s an extremely tough guy to work for. Think hard about whether you want this job.’ My friend really wanted the job, so she decided, ‘there is only love.’ From that moment on, she refused to think critical thoughts about John Doe; she never complained about him behind his back; she wouldn’t even listen to other people criticize him. ‘Don’t your coworkers think you’re a goody-goody?’ I asked. ‘Oh, no’ she said. ‘They all wish they could do the same thing, too. He drives them crazy, but I can honestly say that I like John.

If my friend could do that for her boss, why couldn’t I do it for Jaime? Deep down, I had only love for Jaime—but I was allowing too many petty issues to get in the way. I wasn’t living up to my own standards of behavior, and then, because I felt guilty when I behaved badly, I behaved even worst.

From reading the passage you can assume that this “John Doe” truly is a difficult person, so what exactly did Rubin’s friend do to allow her to totally suspend judgment of her boss? Why couldn’t her co-workers do the same? I’d really love to know! In fact, if I knew her I would ask her:

  • “Why was it okay for you to take a position working for someone you knew was difficult?”
  • “What made it okay?”
  • “What are you doing, exactly, that others are not?”
  • “How are you able to completely ignore John Doe’s behavior and negative actions?”
  • “What have you learned about him that others have not taken the time to learn? How much of a difference has this made to your relationship?”

Her mantra, “There is only love,” definitely seemed to have worked. If you repeated this mantra in your head over and over in the moment someone was upsetting you or pushing your buttons, do you see how it could defuse your anger or aggression? For some people, especially in corporate environments, embracing others with “love” may seem a little mushy. I get it. But, if you bring compassion to the situation (instead of love), perhaps the results would be the same. What do you think?

If you continue to read The Happiness Project you will see how well this mantra, or commandment, works for Rubin. In fact, she decides that giving proofs of love will bring her loads of happiness. So, in closing, I’d like to share a quote by Pierre Reverdy, as Rubin did later in the book, as well as one of my daily inspiration reads from the Daily Kabbalah, which suits this discussion well:

“There is no love; there are only proofs of love. Whatever love I might feel in my heart, others will see only my action.” Pierre Reverdy.


“When we apply resistance in a situation and our opponent throws a bit of time into the space between resistance and reward, the spiritual Light we generate might not shine immediately. This creates the illusion that goodness doesn’t pay. Today, don’t seek an immediate result from your actions. Develop patience. Build your  certainty.”Daily Kabbalah

Give  only proofs of love and suspend judgment: a great recipe for happiness, I believe.

Have a great week. Happy reading.

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.

Be Inspired. Be Happy.

February 1, 2010

During this first year of blogging I’ve written about ways that we can improve ourselves and our lives—productivity, personal responsibility, living your vision, living in the moment, shifting out of low and negative energies, accessing your intuition, and more. Yet when I think about the underlying purpose of why and what I write, it always comes down to HAPPINESS…finding it for myself and helping others fill their spirits with it. When I am happy I am a better person. I am energized, helpful, grateful, inspired, ready to take action, ready to be of service. Everything just seems to flow when we are happy. Isn’t genuine happiness what we are really after?

So when I learned of Gretchen Rubin’s new book The Happiness Project I couldn’t resist and pre-ordered it. The book is Rubin’s year-long “project” to learn everything there is to know about the science of happiness as well as her personal journey to achieve greater happiness and fulfillment. It’s an easy and fun read, and very insightful.

So many of her lessons learned rang true for me and she posed questions, I feel, that we should all be asking of ourselves. Then, I remembered how many times friends and colleagues asked me “How do you know what to write about? What inspires you?” And it became crystal clear to me that what I read daily is a huge source of inspiration for me. It could be anything—a book, a magazine article, a prayer, or a quote. My process is always as follows…read…reflect…learn…take action…feel inspired…inspire others.

And then I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to share my process with other ‘students’ (like me), the books I am reading and applying to my life, and create a forum where we can share with each other and continue the process of reflecting, learning, taking action and feeling inspired?” I like it, and I’m taking action!

In launching this new idea (a part of my happiness project!) I’m going to choose an excerpt from The Happiness Project to get started. In fact, I will share quite a bit from Rubin’s book during the month of February—so it may feel like a “blog book club”. If you have ever wanted to take part in a book club, but perhaps a more relaxed version, here’s your chance! I hope you will participate with me.

So, in this first excerpt Rubin shares,

“It was time to expect more of myself. Yet as I thought about happiness, I kept running up against paradoxes. I wanted to change myself but accept myself. I wanted to take myself less seriously—and also more seriously. I wanted to use my time well, but I also wanted to wander, to play, to read at whim. I wanted to think about myself so I could forget myself. I was always on the edge of agitation; I wanted to let go of envy and anxiety about the future, yet keep my energy and ambition…Was I searching for spiritual growth and a life more dedicated to transcendent principles—or was my happiness project just an attempt to extend my driven, perfectionist ways to every aspect of my life?”

Wow! This hit me right in the gut. “This is me,” I told myself.  In fact, the last line really made me question… “When is enough…enough?” Maybe this rings true for you as well. And perhaps even more so if you consider yourself a high achiever or overachiever as I have practically all my life. And in my daily quest to feel fulfilled and “happy” these paradoxes always show up.

So what’s one of my paradox’s you may be asking? I would say that worrying about tomorrow versus living in the moment is one I struggle with, but enjoy working on. It truly is a work in progress, but I can say that the more I am conscious of my tendencies and practice being in the moment, the happier I feel. A second example would be getting the 7 to 8 hours of sleep I need versus being a member of the 5:30 am “productivity club.” These two, believe me, are only a few of the paradoxes I experience daily. Do you have any that you would like to share?

So how do you manage these paradoxes in your quest for productivity, improvement, growth, and happiness? Well, here are four tips which work for me as well as for many of the magnificent high achievers I have the pleasure of coaching.

  1. Understand that many of the things we feel we “must” do are fear based. The majority of our “must do’s” and “should have’s” are a result of learned behavior. Do these sound familiar? — “If you don’t fight for it, you won’t get it”, or “You must work long, hard hours to make it to the top.” Claiming these beliefs as false is difficult, but can be eased greatly when we confront and work with our limiting beliefs and gremlins (those little voices in our head that tell us that we can’t do something or that we are not good enough). When we challenge these, we reduce the paradoxes that may prevent us from pushing forward.
  2. Breathe and give yourself positive self-talk in the moment. For example, when my daughter needs my full attention, while I feel that I must keep working, I literally stop what I am doing, take a deep breath and ask myself, “How true is it that my work will suffer if I don’t finish what I am doing in this very instant?” My answer is always, “not very true!” You also can ask yourself, “What is most important in this moment and why?” You will find your own answers. Your positive self-talk can take the form of an affirmation as well. When I am hit with the paradox of “I want to exercise more and I also want to rest more,” which drives to the heart of my self-esteem if I fail, I use this affirmation, “I love myself exactly as I am,” and I always feel better.
  3. Rely on your Top Ten List. If you have taken the time to create a list of values or ideals that guide your life (as Rubin recommends), it becomes easy to make these decisions while dropping the guilt we may feel. For example, one of my Top Ten Principles is “No more Mommy guilt!” So, when my son or daughter “needs me” during a particular time period that I have claimed for myself (like a well deserved bubble bath!), then I have no problem saying “not right now,” and I can release the guilt associated with saying “no.” You also can view Rubin’s Twelve Commandments (as she calls them) here.
  4. Adopt this simple, yet powerful life principle…
    Each moment describes who you are and gives you the opportunity to decide if that’s who you want to be
    .
    Having a principle like this in our Top Ten or Twelve Commandments gives us permission to take our goals in stride and focus on today and what we need today to make us happy.

The more I read the excerpt the more I giggle, because how else would we feel when we are so close to achieving a breakthrough? If making positive changes that create more happiness in our lives were easy then we wouldn’t be talking about self-improvement so much. In fact, it would be “no sweat” setting and achieving these happiness goals. Paradoxes like these, then, serve to help keep us on track, so that the “aha moments” are in the process itself, not in the achievement.

I can’t wait to share more excerpts of this FAB book and many others. I also look forward to hearing your perspective and celebrating your moments (“aha” and otherwise) with you.

If you would like to join my Relaxed Book Club, make sure to subscribe (right-hand column) to receive my blog entries, and add your comments so we can have a nice discussion! And, as you guessed it, The Happiness Project is off the shelf and in my hands this month!

In the spirit of inspiration and happiness,

Monique