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What exactly is intuition, and as leaders, why should we care if we use it?

As a leader in the making I remember craving time with “them”…those individuals who “had it”… “made it,” and could teach me a thing or two, or simply give me the right answer! Picture the Karate Kid visiting with the ever-mysterious Mr. Miyagi. His wisdom drew you in! “Daniel-san” just knew that somehow he would learn the way from Mr. Miyagi. He did learn “the way,” but along that way he also learned to listen for himself and tap his warrior within.

In leadership we often have to make uninformed, quick decisions. During many of those occasions we also have to jump without a net and trust in our inner knowing. Because of this, leading can sometimes feel very lonely!

How do we know we are doing the right thing? What within us are we tapping to get that wisdom we are seeking, and trust it despite the outcome?

karate-kid2

 

Over time we can learn to recognize feelings within our body that give us clues about what feels right or wrong. And, when we make enough of those decisions, we can assess whether or not our intuition was correct. But, if our gift for feeling is not yet developed, is not a strength for us, or we simply have not been successful in making those intuitive decisions, then here’s a fun way to try and access your intuition.

Building Your Highest, Wisest Self Archetype!

Perhaps Daniel’sarchetype was a powerful ninja, but for you it can be something entirely different. Take a brief moment to close your eyes and think of that superhero, or all-knowing being that you feel lives within you. You’ll know that it’s the right archetype when you can’t stop smiling, or tingling, or sitting taller and stronger, or speaking louder, etc.

Tapping our visual abilities, especially if we feel that this sense is particularly powerful for us, can be extremely effective. There are many successful leaders and individuals who tap their visual sense every day to access their “genius” or to help manifest their goals and desires. One great resource for these practices is Jack Canfield, renowned speaker, author and coach.

My archetype is a magnificent, larger than life beautiful goddess angel. She is wearing all white, has long shiny hair, and crystal blue eyes. When I imagine her I feel at peace and full of all the answers and wisdom I need. I’m drawn to her and her knowledge and guidance. When I need to make a decision I envision myself diving into a calm blue ocean, through a cave, and up to a brilliant sanctuary where she is always waiting for me. Then, I see myself embody her and deeply feel; knowing fully what my answer is and trusting it.

Part of being a leader is giving ourselves time to make decisions and not always succumbing to the illusion that “We need an answer now!” A wise leader will give him or herself, at a minimum, a few minutes to sit quietly and tap into their “source” to arise at the very best decision. Creating an archetype for yourself is one way to accomplish this!

Here are some questions to ask yourself in beginning to connect with your archetype:

  • What’s the best way for you to access your inner knowing? Which of your senses are the strongest?

  • Can you picture your Highest, Wisest Self?

  • What does he or she look like?

  • What messages does he/she have for you today?

If you’re highly visual, like I am, creating your archetype is a fun and creative way to spark your intuition and feel confident that you can access your Highest, Wisest Self and not have to always get the answers from others.

How do you access your intuition successfully? I’d love to hear your examples and suggestions!

Namaste,

Monique

 

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The day our fish died!

April 23, 2014

fish bowl[2]

“There is no right reaction. There is only your reaction.”
Jack Canfield, Chicken Soup for the Soul

Jack Canfield was one of the primary influences in my life when I began my eye-opening journey of awareness and the transition into my career of being a catalyst for individuals to be their best selves and leaders of their lives.

Jack is a no-nonsense businessman and transformational author, teacher and coach. When I dove into his Success Principles book, self-study course and worked with one of his coaches, I came across a simple equation that changed my life. I share this with everyone I teach and coach, and I will share it with you today. It goes like this …

E + R = O

It stands for … EVENT + REACTION = OUTCOME.
Here’s the learning behind this:

  • Everything in our life is an EVENT (E) … every conversation, meeting, chance encounter, exercise, meal, etc.
  • How we REACT (R) to any event is completely within our control.
  • Based on our reaction, an OUTCOME (O) will result.

When we are not aware — operating unconsciously due to habit — we are not pausing (even for a few seconds) to be intentional about the outcome we desire out of all the events in our life.

Here are a few examples of how you can use this equation to help you become more aware and proactive so that you are not living out the victim energy of “All these things happen to me; I have no control!”

  • (Event) Your boss walks into your office annoyed and screaming at you. (Your Reaction) You interrupt him/her, in protection mode, and scream right back. (Outcome) The relationship between the two of you is tense and lacking respect. Nothing was accomplished, and you have a knot in your stomach the rest of the week and avoid your boss.
  • (Event) You are about to go for your everyday evening run, but you are stopped in your tracks by the president of your neighborhood association who has some important news she must share with you ‘right now’.  The conversation lags. (Reaction) You cancel your run. (Outcome) Your goal of running for 20 minutes a day for 30 days is interrupted. And, you were on a roll with your goal! You feel a bit defeated.
    • Reflection: If you had a quick moment (just a few seconds!) to confirm for yourself what you wanted the outcome of these ‘events’ to be, how might you have reacted differently?

Here’s a true, simple example of an event that took place recently. After looking back, I could have designed a better reaction and had a more positive outcome:

We purchased our beta fish, Sushi, for our daughter, who is lover of all things living! Sometimes, we call our daughter Snow White because all types of animals love her and flock to her. Sushi lasted much longer than any of us expected, and even though he was my daughter’s fish, I was the one who truly cared for him. We all loved him! So, when I realized one night — right before my daughter’s bedtime — that Sushi had passed, I didn’t even think to stop for a moment before reacting. If I had, I would have known in less than a few seconds that I shouldn’t have said anything at that time, because I knew in my heart how my daughter would react. Well, I screwed it up! The words “Sushi died” flew out of my mouth and my daughter was inconsolable. Our bedtime ritual went up in flames and she wouldn’t even sleep in her bed because of how sad she was. It was heartbreaking for me, her Mommy, who never wants to see her sad. And, none of us got much sleep that night!

Again, this is an example of a simple ‘event’ (not in my daughter’s eyes, however!), but I think you get the picture! I can say with conviction that although I still find myself reacting (we are human after all), for the most part I’m very conscious of what outcomes I desire and I’m able to change my reactions in a moments notice. My life, my health, my self-confidence, my relationships, and my energy are all the better for it!

In this process, it’s important to understand that there is no right or wrong to your reactions and the outcomes. What is powerful about using this equation is that you begin to see and feel the power behind pausing (before reacting unconsciously) and choosing how to react to ensure that you are happy (or more happy) with the outcome.

I encourage you to think about a few examples of events in your life, perhaps this week, that looking back you could have achieved a more positive outcome based on your reaction.

If you have a great example, I’d love for you to share it below. Sharing is caring (and learning)! And, if you know someone who can benefit from today’s blog, I’d love for you to share it with them!

If you want to read more on this topic, here’s a great article on Emotional Agility in the Harvard Business Review.

Wishing you a life well led,

Monique

Kick Up Some Dirt

February 2, 2011

 

As a life-long dancer the first thing I picture when I hear the words “Kick up some dirt” is a person dancing wildly, no holds barred, on the beach, or at a backyard hoedown. Yet this month (and everyday, really) it can hold another meaning, one that signifies resilience, persistence and laser focus (kinda sounds like a dancer’s life as well!).

With still so much energy behind this new year–2011–and all of the ideas, excitement and light with which we christened it still tangible, I am questioning what it truly takes to get to where we want to go… to light up and deliver results.

What does it take and why don’t we always follow through?

In coaching with others about Energy Leadership we talk quite a bit about our default tendencies–those thoughts, beliefs, actions (and non-actions!) that we have either learned over time, or created to protect ourselves, which over the years have become entrenched into our psyche. Many times, unless we really look for them we don’t know they exist and that they hold us back. However, if we are the  introspective kind and have a good idea as to what and why we do the things we do, I would dare to claim that we have the high likelihood of really creating a breakthrough if we are truly committed to making it happen.

So, how do we build this commitment?

Yes, it is true that less than half of all individuals who create a new year’s resolution break them by month six, but I’m more interested in studying the smaller percentage who are “Fireworks,”  as Katy Perry would describe them, because not only do they NOT break their resolutions, they reach them, BIG TIME!  I love it in Katie Perry’s song, Firework, when she sings “Make them go Ah, Ah, Ah as you shoot across the sky!”

When others marvel at what you’ve accomplished (Ahhh!),

and even better,when YOU marvel at what you’ve accomplished,

you’ve done something not many do often.

Perhaps a quick poll can help shed some more light.

What would you say you hear more often from yourself and others?

  1. “Gosh, I just haven’t had the time or energy to work on my goal. Maybe tomorrow!”  – OR-

  2. “You’re never going to believe what I accomplished today! It took all the energy I could find, but I’ve got a fire in my belly!”

I’d love to get your feedback on this… a quick pulse of what you’re seeing out there. Please check in.

So, back to finding that commitment, as well as resiliency, persistence and laser focus.

What does it take to master them?

Consider this 5 step plan of action to get you on your way:

  1. Dig Deep.
    If you haven’t spent much time looking within start now. Try it for one week. Simply keep a journal to track your actions or non-actions and the possible reasons behind them. What are your thoughts, beliefs, and fears related to them? What fires you up or waters you down and why? I guarantee you’ll know yourself better than you did 7 days prior.  

    Jack Canfield uses a great visual to signify all of those “default tendencies” we tend not to see. Imagine the tip of an iceberg above the ocean, now go below the ocean in your mind to uncover the larger part of the iceberg…the part we don’t see that’s at least 5 times the size of the tip. This part underwater, what we don’t see, is likened to our subconscious. Let’s begin chipping away at that massive obstruction and start living more consciously!

     

  2. Identify ONE Breakthrough Goal.
    A Breakthrough goal is something that you normally would avoid committing to. It doesn’t have to be BIG or complicated, but something that will require you to get out of your box. Pick only one; this is key. Don’t set out to change your entire life. All Breakthrough goals are made up of many smaller goals, so consider creating a mind map of your Breakthrough goal. Pick that first small step to focus on and simply keep the larger goal where you can see it daily, off in the distance.
  3. Create a NEW Default. We evolve just as time evolves. Yes, habits are hard to break, but PLEASE break them if they are not doing you any good! You have the power to create a new habit…a new default tendency, one that will move you forward and will not define you. How do you create a new habit or routine? Bring it up from your subconscious to your conscious. Acknowledge it. Speak to it. Thank it for its service. Tell it it’s time to go bye, bye! Define your NEW habit, and bring it to life by giving it your undivided attention. LOVE on it!

    My quote for the day from my Ask and it is Given card deck applies nicely to this: “Like learning to understand the basics of mathematics and then having the successful experience of understanding the results of their applications, once you have a formula for understanding your world that is always consistent, it will yield consistent results for you.
     

     

  4. Kick up some dirt! Yes, this is the hard part. You know where you want to go, you’ve dug out the unwanted from deep down and placed lots of conscious energy around your new normal. Now the work begins. Kick up some dirt every day. Would you go today without brushing your teeth or taking a shower (Ok…maybe you shouldn’t answer this. LOL!)? Your new normal needs to become a priority, just like your other routine activities. Define a way to hold yourself accountable.

    Stephen Covey helps to lead the way in this thought via Habit 3 of this 7 Habits of Highly Effective People…Put First Things First! Make this a FIRST in your life to watch it truly become a new default tendency. This new habit will take you from dependence to independence, or self-mastery.

  5. Kick up the celebration! Revel in your accomplishments daily. Share your success, even if it’s only with your pet, the best of listeners! No goal achieved is too small. Creating an environment of excitement and joy helps to expand your energy field, therefore attracting back to you more of what you want and need.

Revel in the newness. The new year, new default tendencies, new successes.

Have fun with the process,

Monique