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Monthly Archives: June 2009

Reframing “Failure” into Growth

So many folks come for coaching feeling like an abject failure – explaining how they’ve utterly botched something essential to them (a job, new business endeavor, a relationship, project, or performance, etc.).  The only emotions they can experience around their “failure” are shame, embarrassment, and regret.

 

I’ve lived this too – experiencing myself as a complete “failure” – having followed my intuition (or so I thought!), living from true hopes and intentions, only to watch them wither and fade, not coming to fruition at all as planned. 

 

As a keen observer of human behavior and human outcomes, I’ve witnessed (first with neutrality, then with great joy) my clients, colleagues, friends and family move from “failure” to growth.  They’ve learned, as I have, that these “failures” we think we experienced are nothing of the kind.   

 

If not failure, what are these experiences?

 

Experiences we see as “failure” are just potent flashes of insight and wisdom revealing themselves, showing you that your ego is in the driver’s seat.  These moments are showing that what you’ve attached so strongly to through your ego is not necessarily what will bring you great joy and fulfillment.  These “failures” are beautiful, light-filled moments that carry with them true insights into your life purpose, and reveal what you really want to be doing on this planet at this time, and how you want to be doing it. But the only way to gain the insight necessary is to let go of what your ego has told you is essential in this endeavor – you must get out of the box you’ve caged yourself in, and move beyond it.

 

Here’s an example – a very personal one.  When I wrote my book Breakdown Breakthrough, the entire experience came from the heart and soul.  I wanted nothing more than to be a beacon of light for women struggling to live and work joyfully.  While it was challenging to conduct the national research and spend the year writing the book, it was always heart-felt. 

 

Unfortunately, something shifted in me once the book was released.  I became very ego-driven, and attached my ego very strongly to it, suddenly striving for attention, validation, and for financial reward for my labors.  The whole thing shifted into an ego place.  I could tell something very off and wrong had happened, but I didn’t know what.

 

Now I do know – I lost my way in those months right after the book came out – I fell off my purpose – which is to be a catalyst for transformation.  Wanting my ego stroked and validated at every turn is in opposition to being a beacon of hope and light for people.  In fact, how can I be a true catalyst for change if I’m stuck wanting validation, am afraid to climb out of my own box?

 

The truth is our dreams don’t always come true as we’ve articulated them.  Why? Because our narrow vision at the time only sees a limited picture of who we are.  Our birds-eye view, on the other hand – the view from our soul’s perspective – is much more expansive and potential-filled.

 

Task for the week:  Think about where you are feeling like a “failure” today.  Is it a past job, a business endeavor, or a relationship that went terribly wrong? Explore the situation and experience fully.  Can you find the nugget of insight, wisdom, of relief in the experience?  Will you try to reframe it to a more positive interpretation, one that fits the facts equally well but allows you to forgive yourself, and see yourself full of potential and grace? 

 

Life is all in the way you view it, so shift yourself away from “failure” toward growth and possibility – you will see things change in front of your eyes when you do,

 

Are You Having “Palate Fatigue?”

Yesterday, I met with a new friend, JoAnn LoGiurato, Founder of Dancing on Grapes (http://www.dancingongrapes.com), who delivers empowering, educational (and totally fun!) programs and events designed to educate and empower women in their knowledge and experiences of wine.

 

We were discussing something wine-enthusiasts call “palate fatigue” – which describes an experience of being saturated with one taste, when all of sudden all wines begins to taste the same.  Reportedly, researchers believe it’s your brain, not your palate, that’s growing weary, and it’s time to take break from the repeated experience.

 

I realized the minute Jo mentioned “palate fatigue” that I’ve experienced this many times throughout my life — not with wine, but with many aspects of my full life experience, including jobs, relationships, dilemmas, perspectives, illnesses, and more.  There are times I’ve woken up and said, “That’s it!  I’ve had enough of this.  It’s all feeling the same, and I long for something different, something fresh, something more.”

 

In fact, I’m going through palate fatigue today – I’ve awakened to a feeling of “sameness” in my work and my focus that needs to be shifted.  While I know that my coaching helps people achieve breakthrough and move towards their compelling life visions, truth be told, I’m fatigued (and didn’t really know it until now) from suppressing other dimensions of who I am and what I care deeply about– the spiritual dimension. 

 

I realized (as if awaking from a dream) that to feel completely alive and authentic for me today means to take a break from how I’m living and working, and becoming more open with my commitment to helping people chart their lives using their own spiritual guidance and intuition.  I have never resonated with coaches, consultants, healers, and other service providers who claim to know better than the client – I prefer instead a more open approach that acknowledges the power of the individual to tap into their own wisdom and become the true expert of their lives.  Helping clients finally hear and follow their own internal, spiritual guidance is the fresh experience I’m longing for.  In this way, individuals can become their own highest authority for their lifetime, which paves the way for true passion power, and purpose in life and work.

 

So, I’m trying this new direction and it’s wonderful! – I’m offering new programs that enliven and connect to the spirit, and folks want it.  Finally, a new experience to taste and sink my teeth into!

 

Are you experiencing palate fatigue, saturated with one dimension of your life today that makes you long for something different, something more?

 

If so, change up your menu of experiences.  Take a break from the repetition of your life as it has been.  Rest, restore, and rejuvenate.  Then, bring in a new dimension of yourself or new experience to drink in – something bolder, fresher, more alive – something that reflects who you are today – out loud and confidently — not what you were in the past.

 

Ask yourself, “What have I grown saturated and fatigued with these days, and what shall I do about it?”

 

Here’s to palate invigoration!

 

Breakthrough Can Come with One Simple Question

Last night, I went to a very stimulating workshop called “Write Yourself Free” in CT, offered by The Editing Company, and held by two wonderful and empowering writing coaches/teachers, Susie Horgan and Patrick McCord.  The program was designed to help aspiring and published writers overcome their fears and blocks, and make movement in their work, bringing forward their gifts and talents into the world in a bigger way than ever before.  As a breakthrough coach and an author myself, I brought to the workshop an open mind, keen interest, and great enthusiasm, but not much hope that I’d have a breakthrough.  How wrong I was!

 

I experienced a huge shift in those two short hours, one that opened me up to new realizations that truly rocked me (in a good way).  Through the exercises of writing and reading to a stranger what I’d created, I learned this about myself – even though I’ve undergone the extreme rigor of researching and writing a self-help book for women (and by most accounts a good one), and have had it published by a very reputable publishing firm, my heart beats fast and furiously (and my knees knock together loudly) at the thought of my next project I’m longing to write – a powerful screenplay about a spiritual occurrence that flips the main character’s world upside, and changes her and her family’s life forever.

 

Why does the idea of moving forward on this particular project make my fingers turn cold and my chest throb?  Because for me, that’s as real as it gets.  The story is autobiographical – it’s raw, authentic, and revealing.  It’s about the true me – not the image I may project to others.  It’s very scary to let the “real” you out in this world that’s all about image, posturing, and control.  I realized too that I’m intensely concerned with being “credible” and to be deemed “credible,” I go to amazing lengths to prove that I’m a studied expert in any given topic I’m covering.  But needing always to feel credible is a futile and wasteful exercise – sometimes it’s enough to just “be” instead.

 

I made a commitment last night – to myself, to the group, and to my new writing partner – that I will write 15 minutes a day on my screenplay.  That’s all – 15 wee little minutes.  Not a lofty goal by any stretch, but a monumental one for me.  The mere promise of 15 minutes sets new worlds into motion, and releases blocks that have kept me for years from focusing on what I truly want to – living and connecting to your true spirit in life and work.

 

So I’d love to offer you this challenge today – ask yourself this: “What are you deeply longing to do, but are absolutely terrified of trying?  What one project do you fantasize about taking on, but it makes your knees knock together in fear, because it’s as real and revealing as it gets for you?”

 

It’s in this question that you’ll find some nugget of the truth that’s waiting to be told about your life; some aspect of breakthrough in you that’s longing to emerge so that you can finally get on with the life you’re meant to be leading, not someone else’s.

 

I hope that you’ll share answers to your breakthrough questions here.  We’ll all learn from you, because basically we all fear the same thing.  Can you guess what that is?

 

What’s your breakthrough waiting to happen?

 

Feeling Like a Wobbly Beginner?

Happy Birthday Geminis!
Today’s my birthday, and I am particularly energized and excited about the possibilities on this special day, after a long bout of moving backwards or sideways (retrogrades tend to do that!).   But I’m not always feeling this confident and sure…there are other times when my lack of expertise and insecurity get the best of me.
 
Have you been feeling wobbly or less than competent in starting something new and unfamiliar?  Or are you struggling with what “should” be working but isn’t?  If so, read my latest newsletter for tips from the wonderful and inspiring coach Cheryl Richardson (thanks for sharing, Cheryl!) for dealing successfully with the “impostor” mode that all of us experience when we embark on a new beginning.
 
I remember when I was writing my first book Breakdown Breakthrough - I longed to arrive at the “expert” phase of having my own book.  I must laugh now (lovingly) because once the book was published, I was launched into the most extreme state of “beginner” that I’d ever faced!  Dealing with top media, learning to be a powerful advocate and spokesperson for working women…all of it was so important to me, yet I felt like such a newbie initially – I must say, it was highly uncomfortable and I couldn’t wait to stretch beyond it.
 
But as Cheryl points out, as we keep on keeping on, and receive support of those who believe in us unconditionally, we move through this “impostor” phase, and arrive on the other side confident about what we know, and open to admitting what we don’t.  I’m embarking on a new book now; but unlike before, I have a bit more of a clue about what I don’t know, and I’m fine with that!
Please share your comments and stories here of when you felt like a wobbly beginner, and how you progressed through that phase to Consciously (and Unconsciously) Competent!  We’d love to hear.
Keep on keeping on, o ye beginners!
Happy breakthroughs,
Kathy

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