The Addiction of Conforming

The creative urge, The Inspired Life

 

A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.
~Abraham Maslow

 

During my hairdresser days, I had a continuing conversation with some clients that went something like this.

CLIENT: I want something new and different. Something really exciting. I’m bored with my hair. It always looks the same.

ME: OK, let’s see, you always wear your hair straight and brown and shoulder length, how about we bring it up around chin level, right at the base of the neck, put in some long layers to give it some bounce and add in some highlights to brighten it up. That will be very different and will frame your face and the highlights will bring out the color of your eyes.

CLIENT: Oh no, I couldn’t cut my hair short. It has to stay long. And…I don’t know about layers, none of my friends have layers, I wouldn’t know how to take care of them. Highlights…that’s too radical. I’m too scared. How about a trim instead.

Uhuh…no change for her…

Change is difficult for a lot of people. Daring to be different than everyone else is difficult. Standing up for your beliefs in a crowd of people who believe differently than you is very difficult. And not so politically correct depending on who you are, where you are and what the circumstances are in today’s society. We are getting used to quietly slinking away. Taking our thoughts and ideas and beliefs and going home. We get on the computer and share with strangers behind screens instead. It feels safer. We aren’t as exposed. We can control our exposure. Say what we want them to hear.

Except its boring. We live in a lukewarm world with everyone conforming to the sameness of corporate structure. We create matching neighborhoods, strip-malls and towns and duplicate them all over the country, and follow society’s rules, passing the time with idle chatter. We say nothing of value at all for fear that we will offend. It is a mindless, weary, aging way to waste an existence.

Conformity is dangerous. It’s addictive. It sneaks up on you.

One day you were young and full of dreams and plans and hopes and ideals and then little by little someone whispered in your ear “Psst…that’s not what we DO here. WE don’t wear purple boots, we wear brown shoes” So off you went to the brown shoe store. Then another day it was “Psst…We don’t believe in that anymore…” and away went the dreams, the hopes and the plans until you forgot that you had been dreaming…The next thing you know you are all decked out in your beiges and browns with your safe hair cut and all purpose shoes. One day blended in to the next and before you know it there is a school reunion notice showing up at the door.

Where did it go? Where did YOU go? Well, take a deep look. You are in there. Sandwiched somewhere between the serving others and making sure they are OK and working to make ends meet. If you made it a point to let go of all the unconscious conforming for others and really woke up and paid attention to your OWN needs, hopes, and desires, what would they be?  Do you know? Has it been a long time since you have dug down deep and asked yourself-do I want this for ME or do I want this because I THINK its what I OUGHT to do.

Our true selves never really go away. They lie in wait for the day when they get a turn. A turn to be set free and live the life that THEY were created for. Each one of us has a special gift, a destiny to unfold, a dream to bring to life if we will take the time to discover it and then pull it out and make it happen.

Shine a light on it. Be unique, take a chance, dare to be different, authentic, one of a kind. Be interesting. Bring a little color into an otherwise gray world.

Crystal at BigBrightBulb has sent out a mission for all of us to share our dreams and goals. I have many. Lots of family ones, one I joke about with my best friend Jackie K. where we talk about ending up as two old ladies living on a beach somewhere warm selling artwork to the beachcombers as they go by.  Of course, now that I am happily married, that dream is evolving. That’s OK too. Dreams do that sometimes. But when the dream is more than just a friendly daydream, when the dream is a vision of how you want your life to be, when the dream grabs you by the heart and won’t let you go, then that has become more than a dream. That dream requires ACTION. That dream now has built in the required ingredient of PASSION.

Passion is what turns dreams into action. Passion is what happens when people DON’T conform, but seek their OWN unique vision and follow their own authenticity. You will never find passion if you have a dream brought on by a should.

Ok Crystal here is mine:

My Passionate dream: To grow Life’s Little Inspirations into a website that offers books, motivational speaking, workshops, coaching, and training classes on how to work and live an inspired, profitable and happy  life.

I took my first step today. I registered my domain name. And I wrote out a huge list of everything I wanted. It was very long. I’m on my way.

What are you doing to make your passionate dreams happen?

 

 

 

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Balancing Balloons

Healthy Lifestyles, self improvement, The Inspired Life

It isn’t easy balancing all the different areas of our lives. Sometimes it feels as if we are hanging on to a giant bunch of colorful balloons and if we aren’t holding on tightly to every single string then …POOF! There goes all of our balloons up in the air drifting away, heading for the clouds or trees, getting caught up in the branches of life.

Ever felt like a wailing child who’s balloon just went POP? Whaaaaaa, There went my red balloooon……

But Honey…you still have a green one.

But I neeeed my red one tooooo……

Of course you do. We need all of our Balloons. Every single one of them. But somehow, just as you get the air back in the Physical Fitness Balloon the Spend Time with Family Balloon starts sinking slowly to the ground. Then Bob at work signs you up as the team leader for an important project and the Business Balloon gets puffed full of air while the Fitness Balloon takes a nosedive. And that Spiritual Balloon? Comes up only on Sunday. The Finance Balloon? Well, You kick it along on the ground with your toe, just to help it keep up.

Sure, you have goals. But every time you start on a goal, something else seems to suffer. It’s almost frightening to start something new. It’s like planning to fail, you can just feel one of those balloons start to lose air. The question is…which one?

It doesn’t have to be so frightening. ( says the Queen of focus) ( yes, I know, it’s terrifying) There is a way that can help those of us that struggle to keep our balloons in the air. I write this as one who struggles. I write as one who is learning as I go along. Not as an expert. I once said you would never hear about how I am an expert in balance at Life’s Little Inspirations. And you won’t. But I will share what helps a cobbler, cobbling along. Balance is my handicap. I get a new gig and I run full force with two feet forward until I fall down. However, as I learn and grow, I fall faster and get up quicker. I grab my balloon string just as it starts to slip now instead of after the red balloon is gliding off to heaven. I’m learning some tips to help me hang on to my balloons.

I thought I’d share my tips with you, maybe you can share some of yours with me, maybe together we can keep our balloons a little longer!

Wendi’s Tips For Balancing Balloons

  • Label your balloons clearly. It’s not enough to know that they are the RED Balloon and the GREEN Balloon. Get in touch with your main balloons. What are they? What are the main five to six areas of your life that need your daily focus? What balloons are you trying to keep in the air?
  • Look at your goals. Name the number 1.2.& 3 goals for each balloon. Now take a good look. Are these connected? Or do they have you running in circles? Try looking for a long term goal, then breaking it down into a ninety day goal. Now what can you do this week to affect that goal? How about today? See the difference? You might want to put the other two goals aside for a bit if they weren’t connected to the long term vision. The point of the exercise is to end up with a short term, a mid-term (90 day) and your long term goal.
  • Put it in Writing. Now that you have a goal for each balloon, put it in writing. IF YOUR PLAN IS NOT IN WRITING, IT ISN’T A PLAN, ITS A DREAM. Get out your planning calendar and start filling in dates that you will take action on your plan. Seeing an actual appointment on your calendar will hold you more accountable. Write in the TIME that you will do the action. Make the actual appointment. IF it’s not on your calendar, it’s not a plan…if it’s not a plan…it’s a dream. ( Starting to sink in?)
  • Ask yourself WHY? Why have you made these goals? Staying motivated to keep balanced in all of these goals is difficult. It takes discipline and focus. Staying Motivated is linked to your inner purpose, your inner drive and your passion. No passion = no fuel in the tank to make it happen. Write down the WHY of your goals. “I am doing this because….. ” Make sure you know what your passion is for each one of your balloons. Sometimes we only feel passion for one of our balloons at a time. This is the single largest reason our other balloons start sinking to the ground. Start a sentence for each balloon that says “I am passionate about this because…” and review it daily.
  • Record and compare & Journal. Track your results in a daily planner or on your calendar. Be accountable to the progress you made in each area. Remember, this isn’t a long list. With only one goal of focus in each area, you are only looking at a few minutes a day. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by making your expectations too high. The goal is one bite of the elephant at a time in each area. We aren’t out to eat the entire herd! Journal about your progress and expectations. No matter how it FEELS like it’s going, stay the course! The discipline of sticking it out when the going gets rough brings opportunity and personal growth, whether you meet the original goal or not!.
  • Create an visual reminder. Draw a chart with the five circles in it, or make a poster board with different color balloons if that helps you. Keep it present, in front of you. Out of sight is out of mind. If you want to make a dry erase board that you can write on every day-go for it! What ever makes it easy for you to envision the balloons that you are trying to keep up.
  • Keep it fun! You are more likely to stick with something if you are having fun with it. Balloons are fun for me to imagine, But you can turn balloons into whatever is fun for you. Have a good time with it.  Running shoes, or Stars or Olympic Circles. One point of the theme that is significant to me is that they are all connected. It reminds me that no part of my life survives untouched without the rest. When my health suffers, my family suffers, when my family suffers, my work suffers. When my work suffers our budget suffers. And around and around it goes.

Balance is important. That doesn’t mean that it will ever be easy for me. I think I’m genetically predisposed to be creative and energetic and run through life like a shooting star. Not so much like a Zen Master. But by finding creative and fun ways to work on balance, I can keep my balloons from floating away.

How about you? How do you keep your balloons from flying off to heaven or running out of air? Please share! We all need the help!

Catch on Fire but Don’t Burn the Laundry

family, self improvement, The creative urge, The Inspired Life

” Catch on Fire with Enthusiasm and People will Come from Miles to Watch You Burn”

John Wesley

There are days that the moment my feet hit the floor, I am driven by the desire, the passion, the very need, to succeed at my mission. Whatever that mission may be at the time, I can not drive the singular focus out of my head. It is a drumbeat, a rhythm, an obsession that calls to me. Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, I am pulled back to the mission, the plan…the goal…and I am practically useless to anyone or anything else.

My close friends and family call this Wendi’s “radar focus”. It is my best secret for success and my biggest flaw all rolled into one.

I can’t help it.

One thing I am an expert on is enthusiasm. When I catch on fire, its hard to put me out. It can take entire fire departments to derail me and get me back to the land of the living. Smoke ends up all over the place, and things can end up in a big mess as I probably haven’t even looked around at anything else other than my goal for a long time.

 One of the things that I have been working in the past few years is balancing my surge of enthusiasm with living in the day to day”real world”. The simple ( well, simple for other people) act of managing parenting and household tasks, along with working, while in the throws of unbridled enthusiasm for a project is very difficult for me to balance. For most people, this is where the enthusiasm starts to ebb away. For me, this is where the laundry starts to pile up.

Often, I get comments from people that know me regarding my enthusiasm. “Man, I wish I had half of your enthusiasm” they say.

That part is easy. Here you go:

Wendi’s Tips for Getting out of Bed on Fire:

1. Find your passion. Name something you feel very strongly or passionately about or something that you have always wanted to do. Journal it, daydream it, play the “If I could do anything I wanted and fear or money was no object, what would it be?” game.  Ask yourself what you want your legacy to be at the end of your life. What would you like to be remembered for?  What do you most regret having NOT done so far in your life? If there is an answer to any of these questions write it down.

2. Make a list. Write down every single reason you have not taken action on that goal. Look at that list. Everything on that list that has to do with fear, cross off. It doesn’t count. Never run your life based on fear. Dare to fail. It’s good for you. Everything else on that list is a learning experience, not an obstacle. Start numbering them and start learning. Accept no excuses as to why you can’t learn about those things.

3. Start seeing the possibilities. Get out a new piece of paper and write down what your life will look like after you have succeeded in your goal. Will the world be a better place? Will you have improved as a person? See the vision. Make an action plan with the items that were left on your list. Make sure you put it in writing. Just thinking about it isn’t good enough.

4. Break down the vision into reachable goals. Once it starts to look doable, your confidence will start to build. Once you begin to believe it is achievable, the spark of enthusiasm will start to ignite.

5. Fan the flames. Read as much inspirational material as you can from several sources. Zig Zigler, James Allen, Jim Rohn are three sitting on my desk right now. Currently popular are The Secret and Law of Attraction. Whatever feeds your fire is great, but feed it you must, fires require oxygen and positive energy is the enthusiastic fire’s fuel.

6. Proclaim your vision to visionaries-not vampires.Sharing your goals and dreams with other like-minded positive, energetic, enthusiastic people will create a windstorm of energy flowing in your direction. You will feel the current as it swirls around, creating ideas, solutions and connections that you never even dreamed possible. Conversely, share your dreams with an energy vampire and watch them suck the life-energy and confidence right out of your soul. Stay away from them if you can, but for sure, DON’T tell them your plans!

7. Speak the language. Watch the words that are allowed to come out of your mouth. The Bible says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God.” Do yourself a favor and take this one literally. Words are king! They have the power to affect thought and action. The language of enthusiasm is positive, energized, creative, fun, adventurous, electrified! Don’t speak the language of the defeated, the downtrodden, the bored, the worn out…feel how the energy goes up and down? Keep your energy supercharged with supercharged words.

8. Create a community of Enthusiasts. When I was in Real Estate, I found that the average Realtor was very competitive with other Realtors and therefore did not function in a state of community with other Realtors. It was hard to keep enthusiasm going day after day, year after year all alone in such a stressful job. That is one of the reasons that burn out in that field is very high. Several of us top-producers got together and created a small group that met monthly to brainstorm, share tips and ideas and build enthusiasm. It created synergy and made us all better than we would have been working alone. Helping others to succeed will always help you to build more excitement for yourself. It’s fun and its rewarding. Energy builds energy.

9. Absorb the Vision. Create a written one or two sentence mission statement for your goal and read it and say it out loud to yourself every day. Say it the first thing when you wake up in the morning. Say it the last thing as you are drifting off to sleep at night. Don’t fall asleep listening to the news or negative information. Fall asleep thinking about your mission, reading information about it or writing in your journal about it. You will wake up ready to hit the floor on fire!

10. Keep Physically fit. Make sure your body can keep up with your brain! Its hard to stay on fire, when you are exhausted, sick, sleep-deprived, starving or hung-over. Schedule in time for exercise breaks, healthy meals, fresh air and plenty of sleep.

Now about that second part? Like I said, it’s a work in progress.

I am not an expert on being enthusiastic with balance. Maybe Leo over at Zen Habits can write about that when he is finished with his book, or one of you will have better tips.

So far, what has been helping me is to create rituals that I can do automatically without thinking. The key to this is the “not thinking”part, because I will be up in my head somewhere writing or creating or wondering up a big “what if I do this?” idea for my project. Having systems and routines in place that can happen on auto-pilot has been a huge help. FlyLady.net has been a big help in getting me started with morning and evening routines that have become a daily habit.

 Here are just a few of the things that FlyLady has taught us that are making a difference in keeping me on fire without setting the house on fire too. Her website FlyLady.net will explain everything in detail.

1. Create rituals for daily maintenance items. Lay out clothes the night before, pack lunches, get the coffee ready, and her most important one…shine the sink and lay out a fresh towel! It is remarkable how lovely it is to wake up to a shiny sink!

2. Do a load of clothes every day. Wash, dry and put away. Keeping that mountain of laundry from taking over has been a huge help at our house!

3. You can’t clean clutter, get rid of it! The more I do this, the better off we are. Period. End of story.

4. Swish and swipe bathrooms as you “go”. It only takes a few minutes. Really.

5. Plan out weekly dinner menus in advance. Write them on the calendar so you don’t have to think about it, while you are busy thinking about other things!

6. Spend Fifteen Minutes. It’s amazing how much you can do in fifteen minutes. Set a timer and promise yourself that you will spend fifteen minutes on something. You will be surprised how much you get done. Start sneaking in those extra 15 minutes and they start to add up.

I would love for you to leave me your ideas on this too! Although I have come a long way, the only thing I am really good at balancing is my exercise ball! Feel free to send in your tips! I could use them!