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We did it! We made it to the final week of Summer of Well-Being! As I type these words, though, I’m reminded of one of my favorite song lyrics by Kenny Loggins (yes, I’m dating myself a bit!):

This is it! Make no mistake where you are! What’s left to provide?
You think that maybe it’s over .
Not if you don’t want it to be!

Here’s what I know for sure…our well-being is a daily, life-long process. And more than just a process, it’s a decision. A decision we make every moment of every day.

I’ve so enjoyed bringing you on this journey during our summer. Please know that the journey is not over! On Thursday, you’ll hear from our final guest blogger, Michelle Alva, who is an Energy Healer at Canyon Ranch Miami Beach. She’s going to wrap up our awareness program very nicely. And, I’m so excited to announce that on September 1st I’ll be sharing with you a way that you can continue on this journey with me and with many others, as I launch my new 6-Month Group Coaching Program: Journey to Well-Being! I can’t wait to share this opportunity with you, and I hope you will consider remaining in our community and growing in your well-being every day.

Today I want to write about one of my favorite things…creativity! One of my top 5 talent themes as defined by Gallup’s Strengths Finder is Ideation. I just LOVE ideating and getting new ideas going and growing! Because it’s one of my strengths, I know that leading with this strength each day, even if only a little bit, gives me so much energy! But even if it’s not a natural talent for you doesn’t mean that you can’t employ it to boost your well-being. They say that if we spend too much time nourishing our logical reasoning, we in fact starve our non-linear, right-brain functions. As a result, we only half live!! bigstock-Thinking-Smiling-Woman-With-Qu-46191085

Research shows that stimulating our right-brain helps to relax us, lower our blood pressure, reduce migraine headaches, and generally increase our harmony. Of course, this can be attained via activities such as mindfulness, or guided visualizations, which we’ve covered during Summer of Well-Being. They help to quiet the rational “thinking” brain. However, there are other ways to spark the right-brain and transform the way we think, learn and operate.

As an example, just this month our team had a retreat that was based in ideation. We wanted to get outside of our boxes and come up with as many innovative ideas as possible (without being logical!), so we used Improv techniques to help us do this. Not only was it a lot of fun, but it truly helped us to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, which often is a requirement to operating in a right-brain kinda way! If you had a chance to view our Summer of Well-Being guest blogger last week, David Suarez, then you know what I’m talking about.

To take it one step further, I want to share five tips for thinking laterally, as Edward DeBono, Ph.D., calls it, or as I like to call it, “Sideways” thinking!

1. Get Random Input: Instead of relying only on what we think or know, we can take our question somewhere else for input, like a mall, or museum, or neighbor, or random book, etc. DeBono says that “A random input from outside can serve to disrupt the old pattern and allow it to reform in a new way.”

2. Quotas: By imagining that there is only one right answer, we limit ourselves. By using quotas, we challenge ourselves to come up with a minimum number of alternatives. We can take this deeper by setting a deadline.

3. Rotation of Attention: Sometimes when we try to solve a problem we focus on just one aspect of the problem, thereby limiting our solutions. One example is losing weight. Perhaps we only focus on the diet and the specific food item we need to reduce or eliminate. Another way to look at it, thereby sparking our right-brain, is to make each factor in the problem (or question) the focus of attention and learn as much as we can by examining it as if it were the only factor in the problem.

4. Reversals: Turn a situation completely upside down! By doing this we are changing our point of view. For example, sometimes it’s hard to figure out what it is we want, but it may be interesting to ask ourselves what it is we don’t want! To determine what well-being is for us, we may learn a lot by asking ourselves what we know for sure that it is not.

5. Cross Fertilization:  It’s natural to avoid those opinions that are not like ours. It’s often uncomfortable to think and feel in a way that’s not natural to us. However, by forcing ourselves to get input from those who often see and feel things differently than we do, we are allowing ourselves to expand the possibilities. This is especially useful when we are stuck and can’t see a way out. When it comes to our health and decisions that we may need to make, this can be a great solution and opportunity.

When it comes to our well-being, sometimes we just need to get a little sideways! For some of us, activating our creative side can juice us up with lots of energy that we can apply to various aspects of our lives, and it can transform our relationships and environments by allowing us to be more open. And for others, thinking laterally can really help us make some important life and health decisions.

Give it a try and let me know what it does for you!

It’s your life. Lead it well!

Monique

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I’ve always been a big fan of strengths-based leadership and personal development. It just makes sense to me. I was speaking with a student last week who was challenged with finding what it took within her to buckle down and study for a math exam she absolutely needed to ace, despite her lack-luster interest in math. Sound familiar? Well, it did to me. I resonated with her story. Although I was very good at math and enjoyed the challenge during a particular time in my life (10th & 11th grade) when I was very focused and desired to be a “great” student, I understood deeply that it just wasn’t “my thing”.  My strengths were always in the areas of communication and expression, whether it be dancing, singing, broadcasting, writing, etc.  Yet, while it may always be worth our while to place most of our energy into our areas of strengths, sometimes we do have work in and around these challenging areas. We need to do just enough to get through or by them.  And, interestingly enough, many times our strengths are what we need to rely on to help us pull through our weaknesses.

This week when I received one of my daily kabbalah tune up messages, I was reminded of how looking at solutions vs. problems can be similarly challenging.  Here’s what the tune up said:

“The solution exists before the problem. This is a kabbalistic truth that saves a lot of worrying. So often in life we freak out because we don’t think there is an answer, a cure, a way out. We needn’t worry. It’s there. We just need to find it….answers come from unexpected places….the more you feel this truth, the faster it will come.”

Then, it dawned on me…this is the type of mentality we must also have when it comes to manifestation, or the expectation of creating miracles in our lives. If we don’t look for those miracles to show, they just won’t! It takes practice to think in this manner and to expect the universe to send us what we need or desire. The same should be true for seeing solutions rather than problems.  So, if it takes practice to have this become a learned behavior and see results, why not practice it! That’s what I’ve decide to do “religiously” for one week. Maybe you can join me on my one week challenge to be completely and forcibly solutions focused?? Let’s have some fun!

My Plan.

  • Expect the unexpected. I shall write this on my mirror and in my office so that I see it throughout the day.
  • Play detective. If solutions exist before problems, then I must search for them like a detective! (I’m having fun already!)
  • Play catch. I must pay keen attention to these so called “problems” that I and others around me encounter. I will catch myself and them in the act!
  • Keep track. I will keep a journal and jot down immediately the identified challenge and the solution that I have found.
  • Start a revolution! I will share my results with you and others (see below) and launch a wave of solution thinking!

Let’s begin!

Here’s what I found…

Interestingly enough, the week began with what most would consider a major problem…my husband parting ways with his job and his career of 15+ years with no foreseeable income in sight. Overnight I have become the sole bread earner for our family. Pressure? Not really! This so-called challenge is providing me with the best of the best opportunities to practice what I preach—to think thoughts of abundance and gratitude and TRUST that our family will be taken care of and that we will receive all that we need exactly when we need it. I am frighteningly calm.


The second part of this first, very real challenge is that my husband now has the chance to fulfill a life-long passion of his, which is to pursue a career in the scuba diving industry. He is jumping into the abyss of entrepreneurship and without an iota of “lack” in his mind or vocabulary he is leaping in with tremendous joy and passion. I love to see people take risks; to pursue and live their dreams. My support he must have. This is the solution that I found.


My detective work continued thoroughly throughout the week and my journal filled with problems and solutions. Things that disrupted my days and my pre-planning, things that made my ego rage and incidents for me and those around me that provided instant occasions for learning. By Thursday I had absolutely no interest in being this detective any longer. Why? When I read through my list of so-called problems I realized how these things we call problems are simply distractions…things that take us away from our intended plans and cause frustration if we allow them to. They no longer were problems for me and I was happy with that realization.

The most important lesson I have learned this week is that we truly cannot sweat the small stuff. Yes, life will throw us some really big and difficult problems, but if we truly choose to believe that the universe only sends us problems because the solution was created first, then we have no problems, yes? I love this thought and I choose to believe and live this thought. I am at peace.


Speaking of peace…I feel the powers at hand sent me a nice gift this past week; a gentle reminder that life is about balance and trust…about ying and yang. As I was brushing my teeth and staring at my beautifully tiled bathroom I noticed what looked to be a ying/yang sign naturally created in my stone. I couldn’t help but giggle. Here is a photo of it.

YingYang

I expected the unexpected, and that is what I received.

I choose to be at peace and to trust that we will be taken care of.

Only solutions exist.

May you have a month filled with peace, light and blessings,

Monique