This was first published on KSL.COM
As a master life coach for the last 20 years, I have discovered some tricks to helping people make meaningful changes that last. Here are some things to keep in mind this month as you think about making changes in 2021.
1. Be honest and open to feedback
Be honest with yourself about what needs to change and be open to objective feedback from others. Sometimes the things you most need to change are the things you can't clearly see in yourself. Asking people who know you well to share what behaviors they see in you that are holding you back, or causing problems, might yield valuable information.
As a coach, I often ask clients if they would be open to an observation about the way they showed up in a situation, or to look at their behavior from a different perspective. Having a caring coach or friend who will be honest about where you are can be a huge help.
It's a powerful practice to ask the people close to you for some feedback on how you can improve or show up for them better. Plan to do this on a regular basis, maybe even weekly.
2. Figure out who you want to be
Figure out who you want to be over what you want to accomplish. The "be" is much more important than the "do."
Think about the different roles you play in your life. What kind of parent, spouse, sibling, aunt or uncle, worker or boss do you want to be? What would it look like to be that kind of person? What would it feel like to be that kind of person? Write your answers to these questions down in detail so you know exactly who you want to be.
The truth is, you cannot do better until you become better. When you focus on who you want to be first, you raise the bar on your behavior and accomplishments get easier.
3. Focus on behaviors and habits that will require change
After you identify who you want to be, focus on the behavior and habits that will need to change. What do you do now that makes you who you are now? What habits would you need to change, or what do you need to start doing or stop doing to become the person you want to be?
Get crystal clear on what these behavior changes are. You may have very ingrained habits that need to change. This process will take time and support, but you can do it.
4. Learn new skills or gain needed tools
Sometimes you cannot change the behavior or habit without first learning some new ways of showing up. You may not be able to change a habit until you learn a new procedure for handling these situations. You might need to learn how to cook healthier meals. You may need new communication skills, a new system for processing emotions in a healthy way, or a new procedure for handling offenses.
This is where some professional help can make a huge difference and help you make changes much faster. When you know better, you can do better.
5. Commit to change
Commit to changing and find a love-motivated reason to keep you committed. Don't change for a fear-motivated reason. Don't lose weight to stop feeling less valuable than other people; lose weight because you love yourself and want to be healthy and strong.
Find a strong love-motivated reason to stay driven toward the goal. Do it for your children so they will have a healthy parent who is active and strong. This will help you stay on task when things get hard or frustrating.
6. Identify goals but focus on now
Clearly identify your long-term goals, but focus on the first step now. What's the next step you need to take toward the long-term goal? What would it look like to make just a 5% improvement this week? A small-step goal means you aren't trying to be perfect now.
If you are going for perfect, you are setting yourself up to fail. Instead, just make a small, realistic change this week. This allows you to experience some success and feel proud of yourself. Set yourself up for a win every week with a realistic next-step goal.
7. Identify the practice that will create the new way of being
The secret to making changes lies in three R's: repetition, reinforcement and reminders. The hardest part of changing is remembering to choose the new behavior instead of letting your old subconscious programming (your autopilot) run. You are programmed to behave the old way, and this behavior will continue until you can interrupt it and choose differently over and over again.
What practice can you repeat daily? What reminders or reinforcement do you need to keep it in the forefront of your mind to choose differently? Many of my clients use reminders on their phone, or they change their wallpaper to something that reminds them to practice the new behavior. This works because they look at their phone so many times a day.
8. Have some accountability
Find a coach, friend or partner who knows what your goal is each week and will supportively hold you to it. The reason coaching is the most effective way to change is because you get to work on small goals with new skills and tools, and you have weekly accountability and support. I have spent 20 years in the personal development field and I haven't found anything that works better than working with a coach.
9. Interact with those you want to emulate
Interact with people who are the kind of people you want to become. Avoid time with people who support your old behavior. They often don't want you to change because they are comfortable with you as you are. Find a crew of people who inspire and lift you to grow and be your best.
It's been said you become the five people you hang out with most. Do you need to find some people who will raise your game?
10. Don't get discouraged if change is slow
Changing behavior is hard, especially when it's driven by subconscious programming you've had since childhood. It's a process and it takes time. This is why I recommend working with a coach or counselor for three to six months, at least.
Lasting change doesn't happen overnight or from reading one book or attending one seminar. Lasting change can only happen when you learn something new and then practice it with consistent, committed effort while consciously choosing a different way of being again and again.
I have seen many people completely change the way they behave, the way they feel about their lives, and the way they show up in relationships — and faster than you'd think possible. In six months' time, your life could look and feel entirely different from how it does today.
Bonus: Get professional help
To make this happen, though, I highly recommend finding a professional of some kind who can help you recognize what you need to change, give you new tools and skills, and support you through the time it takes to practice and work, one small step at a time. There are resources out there no matter your budget. If you need support don't stop looking for resources until you find them.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSl.COM
SALT LAKE CITY — For the last eight years, I have written a special New Year's article in which I have given you the one resolution that would have the biggest positive impact on your life.
This year is one of the most interesting New Year's days in history, in my opinion, as we are dealing with unprecedented challenges, loss and conflict. We are in worse shape mentally and emotionally than ever before. So, I have been thinking about what we need at this unprecedented time and place. What would help us to start healing the conflicts, lifting the isolation, and restoring the loss? Is there one thing that would make a difference?
What immediately came to my mind was listening. Listening to others more (and talking less) could be life-changing for all of us this year.
What every human being needs this year is to have their experiences, feelings and struggles validated. When I say validated, I don't mean always agreeing with them; rather, the people around us need to know their feelings, beliefs and values matter. This is always the first step to resolving conflict. You must give all parties room to express their feelings and allow them to be right about how they feel.
I have been busy during 2020 working with couples and families who have experienced more conflict at home than ever before. They have been fast to get offended and act too often from a defensive position instead of a loving one. The pandemic has, to some degree, made us all more afraid of other people. This has put us all on guard, watching for slights and being quick to protect ourselves from others.
Has this created or added conflict in your relationships? Are you functioning from a fear-of-loss state, where you feel protective of yourself and see others as a threat — maybe even your spouse and children?
This has been a hard year for everyone. We all need the chance to talk about how 2020 has been for us and share our experiences and feelings, and there are many levels to listening better and they would all serve us greatly. This year, make a goal to listen better in the following ways.
Listen to yourself
Listening to yourself means you start trusting yourself, feeling the feelings that are coming up for you and exploring what they are about, and trusting your gut. You have what I call "an inner GPS" that always knows the right path for you. You are entitled to know where your perfect classroom journey goes next.
The problem comes when you don't trust yourself. You might live in constant fear that you aren't good enough, and this makes you think your thoughts and feelings must be untrustworthy. You might constantly ask others for advice because you trust them more. But they are not entitled to know what's best for you. Practice making decisions and sitting in that choice a while to feel if it is right or wrong. If you are making the wrong choice, your inner GPS will not let it go.
Take time this year to sit with feelings that show up. Ask yourself questions about what they are here for, where they are coming from, and what you're supposed to learn. Process emotions instead of stuffing or avoiding them. Not all your thoughts are accurate, but they are there to help you grow.
Take some quiet time every day this year to check in with yourself: How and what are you feeling? What feels right and wrong to you? Start listening and paying attention to how your inner GPS speaks to you.
Listen to your partner
This important person in your life is the one who needs you to hear them more than anyone else. Yet, few people take the time to ask deep questions and really listen to understand their partner at the deepest level. Too often, we listen only as we prepare what we want to say next. That is not true listening.
Your partner likely has thoughts, feelings, fears and concerns that you know nothing about. These are things they won't share unless you create a space that is safe enough and you earn their trust. Make a goal this year to ask questions, to get to know your partner on a much deeper level, and to truly understand them. This will create richness in the relationship you have never experienced before.
Listen to your children
Do you want your children to feel important and valued and have good self-esteem? Do you want to really know and understand them? Do you want a close safe relationship where they will confide in you? These things are all earned by listening more than you talk. Honestly ask yourself which of those actions your children get from you most.
Be a safe place where your children (no matter their age) can share their truth and be respected, honored, heard and validated. Every person has the right to feel the way they feel and have their unique perspective. You don't have to agree with someone else's feelings, but you should honor and respect their right to have those feelings. Make a goal this year to stop talking and start asking questions (without judgment in them) and really get to know your kids.
Listen to your friends and neighbors
You may think you know your friends and neighbors well, but chances are they still feel unseen in some way. They are, as the saying goes, fighting battles you know nothing about. They are carrying pain they won't share because it's messy and ugly.
These people need someone who cares to ask the hard questions like, "Are you really OK?" and "What's the hardest thing you have gone through this year? What's the worst part?" Then give them the time to really share those things they thought no one would care to hear. These are the things they most need to talk about, and this need usually goes unmet.
There is someone around you that needs this kind of love and validation. Make a goal to look for and see these people.
Listen to people you don't agree with
This is the first step to healing our nation after the conflict and division we've felt recently. It is time to truly listen to the people on the other side of every issue. You don't have to agree with them, but you could honor and respect their right to their perspective and experience.
When others say they feel slighted, it is not our place to disagree. They are always right about how they feel; they see the world from a perspective you can't possibly imagine because you weren't there. Your perspective is always missing some pieces. Always stay open to the possibility of being wrong. This keeps you teachable, open to learning, and able to create solutions that serve your entire community and country, not just you.
People who are different from you
Most of us subconsciously lean toward the people who are the most like us and who have the same beliefs, values, race, religion and socioeconomic status. This can make our world small. It shelters us from conflict, but it also hinders growth, learning and incredible experiences.
If you feel uncomfortable around a certain group, this is the year to make a new friend and spend some time really listening to their story and how they got there. Amazing growth can happen when we truly hear other people and understand their unique experiences. Doing so changes and enriches who you are.
Join me this year to listen better than we ever have before by committing to stay open and assume you don't know it all. Stay teachable. Get to know other people on a whole new level and develop compassion and empathy for people you didn't understand before. Decide to be a giver to the people in your home and be more focused on hearing them and understanding their hearts than ever before. They may irritate you at times, but you probably haven't scratched the surface of knowing the depths of their souls and their goodness. All that is required is for you to ask more questions, talk a lot less and care enough to hear them.
You can do this in 2021.
This was first published on KSL.COM
The Australia Journal of Psychology found that likable people are more likely to keep their jobs because likable people are easier to work with, are great on teams, and get people to work with them seamlessly. This is just one of many benefits of being more likable. Likable people also tend to have healthier relationships and more opportunities.
Keep in mind you don't want to work on your likability because you need approval or validation from other people to quiet your fear of not being good enough. You want to work on these things to become the best version of yourself.
This effort should be love-driven, not fear-driven. Right now, as you are, you have the same infinite, intrinsic value as every other human on the planet, even if you sometimes show up in a fear state, selfish, insecure or unlikable. Your value is always the same and you are good enough, but the way people react to you may not be creating the life you want.
If you want to become the most caring and likable version of yourself, here are some things you can work on:
1. Make sure you like yourself
Liking yourself is the most important element of being likable. If you don't like being you, you will have nothing to give other people and your low sense of value is something others will pick up on.
You are subconsciously teaching the people around you how to treat you by how you treat yourself. Do you always put yourself last? Do you put yourself down? Do you see yourself as less than other people? If you do, this has to change. You might need to work with a coach or counselor to help you eliminate your fears of not being good enough; they can make this process faster and easier.
2. Show other people that you like them
Everyone likes people who like them, yet we are often so worried about not being liked ourselves that we forget to show others how we feel about them. Make an effort to check up on people, invite them to do things, send notes or texts, and generally be a friend to them.
Also, make sure you remember people's names. There are many tricks to help you get better at this. For example, you can use word associations or rhymes to help you. Every time you use a person's name it instantly makes them feel valued and important.
3. Be sincerely interested in other people and their lives
Whenever you are around other humans ask questions about them and actively listen with the desire to understand, know and care about them. In every conversation, make sure you ask questions and listen more than you talk. This makes other people feel valued and important. If you can make every person you talk to feel valued and important, you will be very likable.
4. Be slow to be offended
If a behavior or comment feels insulting or disregarding toward you, stop and take a step back before reacting.
5. Remind yourself you are safe and have nothing to fear
In every room, you have two options: to feel unsafe and be subconsciously focused on yourself, getting approval, or bring liked; or to feel safe and be focused on others, validating them and making them feel important. You get to consciously choose which state you want to experience.
6. Pay compliments, notice others and validate them
Celebrate other's wins without being jealous. A win for someone else doesn't mean anything about you. There is enough abundance in the world for all of us.
7. Ask others for advice
This is a great way to show people you see their wisdom and expertise, and you value it and them. People love to give advice about what they know, and they will light up when you ask for advice.
8. Always be open to being wrong
Being open to being wrong about whatever you think you know prevents you from getting overly attached to being right — which is a behavior that repels other people fast.
Be teachable, open, curious and willing to take time to understand those who think differently than you. Truly intelligent people are always asking questions and challenging what they know. Likable people are open-minded and not afraid of being wrong.
9. Be reliable
Likable people keep their commitments, follow through, and are responsible and dependable. Do your best to be on time and be someone others can count on. If you can't do something, be honest about that and say no. Don't be afraid you have to commit to something (or everything) to be likable; it's more important to be realistic and only committing to what you really have time to do.
10. Smile and make eye contact
Your body language tells people if you are warm and open or cold and closed off. Practice making relaxed eye contact (don't stare) and smiling more. Be friendly and say "hello," "good morning," or "have a good day" to strangers.
11. Be genuine and don't try to impress
The harder you try to impress others the less impressive it is. Just relax and be you. Don't be attention-seeking or worry about whether others like you. Be interested in them, be friendly and kind, but also just be yourself.
Watch how you behave around people you feel safe with. That is probably the real you. Practice being that real around new people, and even being the same you no matter the environment. It helps to remember that you have the same infinite, intrinsic value no matter how you behave or what anyone thinks, so there is nothing to fear. Just be you.
12. Avoid judging other people and gossiping
If you are quick to judge others or talk behind their backs, you must understand this is causing problems in your life. It is making people feel unsafe with you, and it is preventing you from truly loving yourself. You see, when you see the dark parts of other people as making them unworthy of love or value, you will also subconsciously see your own dark parts as making you unworthy of love and value.
You can literally only love your neighbor as you love yourself and vice versa. So practice giving every person you see unconditional love and unchangeable value no matter their behavior. They are here in a classroom to learn and grow, and they may have many lessons still to come but their value is always the same — and so is yours. Be someone who says only positive things about other people.
13. Practice the 'platinum rule'
The golden rule talks about treating other people the way you want to be treated. The platinum rule goes a little farther and states you should treat others the way THEY want to be treated. This sometimes requires you to ask them how they would like to be treated or get to know them well enough to find out. Never assume they will like what you like. Pay attention to what they value and lean toward. Make sure you show them that you see who they are and allow them to be different from you.
At the end of the day, remember some people still won't like you, and that's OK. We are all very different, and we connect with some people better than others. Each week I hear from readers who love my writing and others who don't like it at all, but I have to remember that my value is the same as every other person's no matter what and keep being authentically me. You can do this, too.
This was first published on KSL.com
For the last eight years, I have given you a new year’s resolution that, in my opinion, would make the greatest positive impact on your life in the upcoming year. (You can read the past 8 years articles here.)
This year being 2020, and the beginning of a new decade, I think it’s a great time for starting fresh and making a change. The goal I recommend you consider this year is to get some professional help to take stock of your subconscious beliefs and learn how to change the beliefs that aren’t serving you.
This will require professional help because it is difficult to see your subconscious patterns and change them on your own. I highly recommend you find a counselor or coach who is trained to do this kind of work. The truth is, you cannot work on yourself alone at the same level you can with someone to help you. It is much easier to see the negative patterns in other people’s behavior than it is to see your own.
A caring, well-trained coach or counselor can give you new tools and skills that will make you more emotionally intelligent and balanced. He or she can help you understand how your programs of fear are driving your behavior and help you change them on a subconscious level.
Trust me: A coach or counselor who can guide you through this process will help you become stronger, wiser and more loving than you ever thought you could be. That is the greatest gift you can give yourself and those you love this year.
To get you started, here is a list of the most common and damaging beliefs that might be causing havoc in your life:
Remember, these are not facts; they are just beliefs. That means you can change them anytime you want to. Sit with each of them a minute and make a note of the beliefs you might have in play.
These beliefs become the lens through which we see ourselves and our world. They filter all our experiences and determine how we feel about ourselves and life. They also drive our behavior — especially negative, unbalanced behavior. These beliefs stop us from being the person we want to be.
Changing your beliefs
Most of these beliefs play out on a subconscious level, though, so you may not be aware of how much they drive your life. But you can become aware, and that is the first step to changing them.
Here is an exercise to help you change some beliefs:
Fears that you aren’t good enough or aren’t safe are the most common beliefs behind bad behavior. Agin, find a professional who can specifically help you change those two beliefs. If you can start feeling safer in the world and better about yourself, it will be a gamechanger that will shift all your relationships for the better.
When you feel safe, you have a full bucket and something to give the people in your life. When you feel unsafe, your entire focus will be on you and finding safety, and you won’t have anything to give.
If your relationships are struggling, your self-esteem is low, you are going through some big life changes, or you are feeling depressed or anxious, care about yourself enough to get some help. Don't spend another day stuck here. There are answers to your questions and changes you can make that will quickly change how you feel and behave. Don't wait and live in fear any longer.
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.com
Every January for the past six years, I have recommended one New Year’s resolution you could make that would make the biggest difference in your life. You can read all my past New Year’s KSL articles here. This year, I recommend you resolve to get offended less.
The truth is, very few of the things you let bother you are worth the energy you spend on them. Most of your aggravation, disappointment, annoyance, and even anger about situations or other people, is self-inflicted suffering that could easily be put down.
As a matter of fact, every situation in your life is 10 percent the issue and 90 percent how you are looking at it. Your perception or the way you see it creates the story and how you feel. The problem is, your thoughts, feelings, stories and projected reactions are often not accurate. These perceptions are the result of your subconscious policies and procedures, most of which you created as a small child. I have written an entire book on recognizing your subconscious fear triggers and how to get free of them because it’s a little involved for an article. But here are six simple things you can do to get offended less often, lessen your misery and increase your joy this year:
1) Be 100% responsible for your thinking and how you feel about every situation. No one can make you upset, mad, offended or feel hurt without your permission. They are not that powerful. You have complete control over only one thing in your life: how you choose to think and behave. (Though most of us don’t claim this power and instead we give others permission to determine our happiness.) It is time to claim control and stop giving other people the power to determine your self-esteem, make you feel unsafe in the world, or take away your joy. Instead, let offensive statements or actions roll off. Ask yourself, “Is this worth giving away my joy for?" If it is that important, decide how much time is reasonable to feel bad for. When is enough misery, enough? It’s part of the human experience to feel negative emotions, but don’t live there. Give yourself five minutes for an angry rant or pity party, then choose to let it go and claim your peace and joy back.
2) Recognize when fear of loss has been triggered. This happens when you feel taken from, robbed or mistreated. In these situations, you can experience fear of loss. Remember, you are choosing to see the universe as against you and the world as unsafe. It is this belief that is causing your misery. You could choose, instead, to see the universe as always serving you, and this experience as your perfect lesson. If this experience is serving you, it isn’t a loss. Let the angst go and choose to feel taken care of, watched over, and safe in the world because the universe only creates experiences you need.
3) Let more small stuff go. Ask yourself “Will this matter to me in 10 years?" If it’s a yes, then again, decide if there is anything you can do about it. If there is, take action. If there isn’t, (because you can’t control other people), choose to trust the universe to take care of you. Living in trust that the universe is on your side and is always conspiring to serve you, is a perspective that creates more joy. Ask yourself again, “Is this worth giving away my joy and peace for?” Choose your battles and only suffer over really important things and limit the suffering shelf life on those.
4) Don't take things personally. The truth is, most of the time when someone attacks, offends or insults you, it’s really not about you. It’s about their fears for and about themselves. These people came into these situations with fears of failure or loss in play and then they projected those fears onto you. For example, a person who never felt important or cared about as a child may have a subconscious tendency to experience not being cared about everywhere they look. This means they might project that experience onto you, and they may honestly believe you don’t care about them. This might make them angry and attack you, but it doesn’t make sense to be offended. Instead, have firm but compassionate boundaries and don’t allow abuse. Look at their feedback and see if you can learn anything. Then, don’t take offense and let them hurt you. Recognize bad behavior means this person is having a fear problem that is probably more about them. You can offer them some reassurance or validation, but it’s not your job, (nor is it possible for you,) to fix the underlying problem. That is work they get to do.
5) Be quicker to forgive and forget. Holding onto past offenses hurts you more than it hurts the other person. When you get offended make a decision right then and there how long it makes sense to suffer over this. In "The Art of Living," as taught by S.N. Goenka, we learn Buddha taught the very instant you are offended, you must choose what kind of cut this offense will be. It’s either a cut through water that is gone immediately, a cut through sand that is gone tomorrow, or a cut through rock that will be there for decades. How long do you want to suffer?
6) Have good, peaceful, but firm boundaries. Boundaries should be rules you make to protect you from letting other people take advantage of you. Decide what behaviors you will allow, what you will let roll off, and what behavior is not tolerable. If someone treats you in an intolerable way, choose to walk away from that behavior with love and compassion. There may even be some people you have to love from afar. You must learn how to be both strong and loving at the same time, so you can balance protecting yourself with showing up for others. Both are needed to be healthy. Seek some professional help to learn how to enforce boundaries properly if needed.
Getting offended less, letting more small stuff go and not taking things personally will create a happier, more balanced 2019.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is a poplar speaker, author and life coach. She owns www.claritypointcoaching,com and has a worksheet designed to help people process offenses easily at https://www.claritypointcoaching.com/worksheetsdownloads
This was first published on KSL.com
SALT LAKE CITY — Each January for the last seven years, I have written an article recommending one New Year’s resolution that would have a great impact on the quality of your life. This year we recommend forgiveness: total unconditionally forgiveness for yourself and others.
Here are some principles that will make forgiving yourself and others easier:
1. The secret to forgiving yourself lies in forgiving others.
We believe this is a profound and life-changing truth: the way you choose to see, judge, condemn or attack others also determines the way you see, judge, condemn and attack yourself.
If you are quick to see faults, flaws and mistakes in other people and you let those mistakes determine their value, or you see them as bad guys, you are giving power to the damaging idea that people can be "not good enough" and that human value is changeable and can go up and down.
If you give power to this idea, it will also affect the way you see yourself and your own value. You will also see your own value as changeable and in question, and you will constantly be afraid you aren’t good enough.
But it is human nature to subconsciously look for the bad in others, gossip and judge to make ourselves feel better. If they are the bad ones, we think we are the good one. But the more we put down, criticize or gossip about others, the worse our own self-esteem becomes. There is no escaping this cause-and-effect cycle once you start judging. But you don’t have to live this way.
You could decide to let all your and their past mistakes go, and see life as a classroom, not a test. This means letting everyone be a struggling, scared, amazing, divine, infinitely valuable, and innocent being who is doing the best they can with what they know at each moment. It means giving them and yourself the freedom to be a work in progress and not expect perfection from anyone.
You have the power to choose a compassion mindset where we are all innocent, silly, sometimes stupid, learners, whose value is (fortunately) not in question or changeable. You could decide to see all humans and their value as infinite and absolute and see every human being as having the same value. This mindset will make you feel better about yourself, and you will also treat other people with compassion. But you must give up judgment and criticism to claim this.
Start today and eliminate judging others from your life. Forgive them (whoever they are) for all their mistakes. Focus on the lessons each experience taught you, and let a higher power (or the universe) be in charge of your and their classroom journey from here. Forgive them and move forward without any anger, hurt or pain around what happened. Bless them on their way.
Of course, sometimes you have to still associate with the person. Just remember, just because you forgave them, doesn’t mean you have to trust them again or want them in your life. But you can choose to see their value as the same as yours, because you don’t want your mistakes to affect your value, either.
Forgive yourself for all your past mistakes. They were just lessons and they don’t define who you will be moving forward. Use them to become a better version of yourself in the future and let go of shame and guilt.
2. You alone are responsible for how long you stay in pain.
When a painful event happens in your life, it is normal to feel pain and suffer for a while, but eventually, you must decide how long you will live that way. No situation or person can cause you pain forever, because it is your thoughts (about the situation) that are continuing to cause the pain, and you do have control over your thoughts.
Sometimes when an offense is fresh, you will need to feel the pain and can't expect to choose your way out of it yet. But eventually, you will have the power to decide how miserable and for long you want to feel that way.
In the end, no one can take away your peace or give you peace. No one can make you feel terrible or make you feel better. You alone have that power. If you struggle to understand this principle, read my KSL article about choosing to be upset.
You have the power to choose peace, joy, confidence and forgiveness in any moment. Owning this truth gives you the power to not continue to hurt over an offense or feel like a failure because of a mistake.
3. Remember your family (spouse, children and relatives) are your greatest forgiveness teachers.
Your family is your primary forgiveness classroom. This is especially true because the people closest to you are the ones you allow to hurt you the most.
When you see your family life this way (as your classroom) you will finally be seeing them accurately. Every fight, offense or disappointment that shows up is a chance for you to practice seeing human value as infinite and practice forgiveness toward yourself or others.
Your family, and especially your spouse, provide you daily opportunities to stretch the limits of your love and work on forgiveness.
4. Understand how pointless shame and guilt are.
We teach our clients that "SHAME" is an acronym that stands for: Should Have Already Mastered Everything. If life is a classroom though, shame is ridiculous. You are a student in the classroom of life, there is no way you could have known it all, all along.
Give yourself permission to be a work in progress. You are learning and growing, and have much more to learn. You are on the path of self-improvement, and wherever you are at this point is good enough for right now.
You will do better in the future, but guilt, shame and beating yourself up for months or years does you no good. It doesn’t fix the past nor create a better a future. It makes more sense to focus your energy on working to be a better person today.
5. What other people think doesn’t matter, but what you think does.
Remember, the opinions of others are just thoughts and ideas in their heads, which have no power, mean nothing, and can’t hurt you, diminish your value, or change you in any way. They may influence events in your life, but if you trust the universe is a wise teacher you won’t worry about that because you know it only brings the experiences that are right for you. Don't worry about losing out or not getting the life you wanted, and see the opinions of others as irrelevant.
But what you think of yourself and your past matters a lot.
If you see life as a classroom and your value as absolute (and forgive yourself) you will show up with confidence and love, and everywhere you go people will feel that in you and respect you in spite of your past mistakes. Even if you made BIG mistakes in the past, if other people can feel that you have learned the lessons, moved on, and you now know your value isn’t affected by them, they will tend to follow your lead and let your past go too.
If you cannot do this, however, and continue to beat yourself up, carry shame and guilt around, and feel you are less than other people, other people will feel this too, and they will also have trouble forgiving you or letting your past go. Whichever stance you claim, they will follow.
6. Write down the positives each negative experience has or is creating.
We believe forgiving works best if you shift your perspective and look at your life in trust that it has always been your perfect classroom. Trust that every offense or mistake happened, because it could teach you something. See if you can name 10 positives that making the mistake (or being hurt in that way) has created in your life. This will help you see your life as your perfect classroom journey. When you no longer resist what happened, but embrace or accept it as something that served you, you will find forgiving gets much easier.
Focus on being the most forgiving person you can be this year, toward yourself and others. This powerful choice will take pain and suffering off you, and bring the light back in. If you still struggle to let mistakes go, check out another KSL article I wrote about the benefits of not forgiving. It might help you to see why you are still holding on.
If you make this a year of forgiveness, it will also be a year of more joy, more progress and more peace.
You can do this.
Kim Giles and Nicole Cunningham are master executive coaches and the founders of Claritypointcoaching.com and 12shapes.com You can download free forgiveness worksheets on www.12shapes.com in the Resources Section.
I got divorced years ago and since then I have been working on my self-confidence and self-worth, and I have become a happier, busier woman. My parents keep asking me if I am ready to find another man. They don’t seem to like my answer that I’m happy being single. I’m sick and tired of the online dating and the way it’s done now. The bottom line is I’m done with dating and I don’t know how to tell my parents that and get them to support me. How would you recommend I tell them (again)?
Before I recommend a way to get your parents support for your choices, I want you to understand how social norms or unwritten cultural rules can drive our thoughts, feelings and behavior, and how we all allow these socially accepted beliefs to create cognitive dissonance and suffering in our lives.
From the moment you were born, you have been gathering data about yourself, others, and the world around you. Everything you saw, heard or experienced helped you create conclusions about the rules in your family and community. You learned which behaviors earned you love, attention or approval. You learned what to do to avoid suffering or rejection. Your whole life you have been creating subconscious policies and procedures about living in your world.
The problem is many of these ideas, policies or rules are just ideas and many of them are not serving you either. Many of these beliefs are not even based in fact or reality: they are simply thoughts that have gained more power than they should. But they have been with you for a long time, and you have followed them simply because you didn’t know there was another option.
The following are some examples of these unwritten rules you might have adopted:
Here are 5 ways to challenges your unwritten policies and start consciously choosing new beliefs:
1. Remember you are the only one entitled to know the path through life that’s right for you.
Never let anyone tell you how you should live, what you should want or what you should do next. They are not in the same classroom as you, so their truth isn’t going to be your truth. Give yourself permission to explore many mindset options and choose the way that feels right to you.
2. Be unique.
Own that no one else on the planet will ever get the same journey as you. No one will ever have your genetics, your body, your family, your upbringing and your experiences. We believe this means your perspective and your truth are unique to you, and no one else can see the world the way you see it. This is why you must choose your own way and not let others make your choices.
3. Trust yourself.
Trust you have an inner guidance system (an inner GPS) that will always guide you toward your perfect classroom. It will nudge you and pull you toward the experiences you need to grow and learn in the ways you need. If you ask others for advice, do so because you want to research the options, not because you trust their judgment more than your own.
Once you clarify your options, write each one on an index card and place them in front of you on the table. Then one by one take an option off the table and throw it away, listening to your gut about which you should ditch. Do this until there is only one option left. This kind of exercise helps you practice listening to your own inner guidance system.
4. Let everyone else be unique and trust themselves too.
We all have a tendency to think everyone should see the world the way we see it. “What’s wrong with them that they can’t see what I see? It’s obvious.” They can’t see the world the way you do, because their unique journey has fashioned a unique perspective that you can’t possibly see.
You must give everyone permission to be on their perfect classroom journey. The more you do this, you will also be empowered to claim your journey. Refrain from any judgment about their choices; honor and respect their right to be where they are, and feel what they do.
Remember though, that though we are all very different, we have the exact same intrinsic worth and that cannot change.
5. The amazing and unique souls around you, who choose a vastly different path than yours, are often in your life to teach you tolerance and stretch your ability to love.
It’s easy to love people who agree with you and live like you and by your rules, but it’s much more challenging to love someone who is different. When you choose to see these people as different, but equal in value, and allow them to even teach you something, there will be an amazing richness in your life. They will give you fresh viewpoints and broader understanding of the human experience. Embrace them as they are and let their different choices teach you something.
Once you claim the right to live by the dictates of your own conscience, values, beliefs and preferences, and allow the people around you to do the same, you can then ask the people in your life to honor you, too.
We recommend you sit down with your parents and ask them some questions about why they feel so strongly about you dating and finding someone to love. Really listen to them and honor their right to think and feel the way they do. Spend some time here, and let them know you can understand why they might feel that way. Then ask if they would be willing to let you share what you feel about it, and if they would be willing to honor and respect your right to choose the right path for you. We think you will be surprised how supportive they will be if you share your feelings and ask them to support you moving forward.
We agree that for many people living as a single person can still be a rich, beautiful, happy and fulfilled life. Happiness does not require marriage or a life partner, though many people find great happiness that way. We think you should focus on building the life you want to live — you only get one shot at this life so be true to yourself and live big.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles and Nicole Cunningham are master coaches and the creators behind Claritypointcoaching.com and www.12shapes.com They host Relationship Radio every Thursday on Voice American and on iTunes.
Each January for the past four years, I have written an article for you with my best advice for a New Year’s resolution, which would make the biggest difference in your life. Here are the links if you’d like to read them:
When the kids mess up the house, if you see it as today's lesson to make you stronger, wiser and more loving, you will handle it much differently than you would if you saw it as just an aggravating event.
When you struggle at work, but you see the challenge as your perfect classroom, you spend less time complaining and more time working to solve the problem.
This idea came from the great Viktor Frankl, who was a prisoner in the concentration camps during World War II. In that horrible situation he found himself pondering on a powerful question, “Is it just random bad luck I am here in this place or is there meaning, purpose and reason in my being here?”
He eventually realized there was no way to know for sure which was truth. That left him with an interesting revelation … we get to and have the power to decide which perspective we want to have.
He also realized that believing things had no reason and were just random bad luck made his suffering worse. But choosing to believe there was meaning and purpose in our experiences and suffering lessened the suffering and made him want to rise to the occasion and turn whatever was happening into a human achievement.
He said, “Suffering ceases to be suffering, the moment it finds meaning.”
You can bring this powerful principle into your life too, so you can suffer less and have more joy. Each day you will be faced with situations, many which will disappoint, frustrate, anger or hurt you. When these show up, you can experience loss and feel cheated, wronged and mistreated by life, you can complain and feel sorry for yourself, or you can choose to trust the universe that though this situation is rough, it is here for your benefit.
You can choose to see the universe as a wise loving teacher, who is constantly conspiring to educate and bless you. You can see life as on your side. Choosing to believe this is truth will completely change how you feel about your life and yourself for the better.
The only other option you have is to resist an experience, be bent out of shape by it, complain about it and refuse to learn from it. This attitude does nothing but magnify the suffering and discourage you. It may also make you less motivated to change and improve. Why work at things if they don't mean anything anyway?
When you choose to see a bad situation as a perfect lesson, you will always come through with more strength, wisdom and love, and you get to choose how you want to live. It is totally up to you.
If you are ready to embrace this idea and have more joy and less suffering this year, join us in a fun, life-changing exercise to record what you learned every day in 2017. Get yourself a fresh journal where you will record the lessons your unique journey provides every day. Each night before bed take a minute and write what your classroom taught you today.
Master coach Nicole Cunningham and I have both committed to this practice this year, and we also plan to leave room on the margins of each page to write the topic of each post so we can flip back through the book and find topics we want to read about again and again.
You could also do this on your Facebook wall, blog or in an electronic file (though don’t make this about showing off to others). Keep this as an exercise about you and your growth, and not about getting validation.
Take some time today and take stock of the ways you were stuck in fear or bad behavior last year, and make 2017 the year you learn your way out of it. I say “learn your way out” because "you can’t do better until you know better."
Make this the year you recruit some outside help and start creating the life you really want. Every coaching client I’ve ever had has said, “I wish I had learned this stuff sooner.” And they could have, but most wait until things get really bad, before they ask for help. Don’t wait.
There are resources and experts all around you that can make changing your life, relationships or results easier and faster. Sometimes we are afraid to seek help because the known (even if it’s bad) seems safer than the unknown. This is why we stay in abusive relationships or continue to put up with an unhealthy marriage or a bad job.
Please hear me on this: The problems in your life are easier and less painful to fix than you think, especially if you have help. You may already have a hunch about what help you need and how to find it, but you aren’t acting on it. Take action.
The universe will always guide you to the answers you need. It gently nudges you and drops hints so you can’t miss the path you are meant to follow. Life just waits for you to be brave enough to choose yourself and grow. It will not force you through your classroom, though it may hit you with a two-by-four, if the gentle nudges aren’t working.
Be honest with yourself today about the ways you may be hiding from growth or avoiding a class you need to take. Are there problems anywhere in your life you are ignoring, distracting yourself from or pretending aren’t there?
Are you keeping yourself busy or self-medicating with work, hobbies, TV, pornography, romance novels, alcohol or other interests, instead of working on fixing your life?
It may be time to admit you don’t know how to fix what is broken. That is the first step to change, and remember it’s not weakness to ask for help. It’s a sign of strength. Ask for help.
There are some great worksheets and tools on our website to help you work through your problems and find solutions. My favorite is the Clarity Questions Worksheet, and you can access it here.
Choose to make 2017 your best year yet in personal growth. Choose to stretch out of your comfort zone, gain some new skills and tools and create a richer life. Making this happen isn’t as scary or as hard as you think.
You may have noticed I end every article I write with the phrase “You can do this.” I end this way because most of us have subconscious belief that says, “I can’t do this, it’s too hard and I’m not good enough” but that’s not truth. You are meant to do this, grow, rise, solve problems and succeed. You can use the power of conscious choice (in every moment) to choose to believe you are safe, on track, ready and perfectly able to succeed in your classroom … whatever it brings.
Make sure you join our mailing list by texting "Claritypoint" to 71441 (and get a free e-book by Kim Giles too) or follow us on social media this year, as we provide you with tips, skills, tools and advice and help you to suffer less and have more joy.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com and a corporate trainer. Nicole Cunningham is a master coach for families, parents and teens.
This article was first published on KSL.COM
Web Tease: Coach Kim's yearly New Year's resolution article. This year she challenges us to see all people as having the same value and make a stand for human rights, tolerance and love.
For the last two years in January I have recommended one resolution that would have the biggest impact on your life. In 2013 I wrote about improving communication skills and thereby improving your relationships at home and work. In 2014 I recommended forgiving yourself and others as this would greatly improve your self-esteem and quality of life. This year, I would like to recommend a resolution that could not only change your life — but may also change the world.
There is a great deal of hate sweeping our planet right now. There is terrible racial conflict in our country and fighting over differences in religion, race and sexual orientation, happening around the world. As we have watched the fighting, beheadings, riots and terrorism on TV, we, at our house, find ourselves asking the same question over and over, “What can we do to change this?”
This question can leave us feeling powerless at times, but the truth is, one person can make a difference. People like Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., who successfully made a big difference in the world, started out as regular people like you and me. They were regular people who decided to speak out for truth, but because their ideas were truth, it resonated with people and movements were born.
I am going to tell how you can help, speak out, stand up and make your voice heard in defense of truth to encourage equality, respect, unity and love in the world, but before I do that I want you to understand the real root of the problem.
The real problem behind these conflicts is a problematic tendency of human nature that makes all of us subconsciously see those who are different from us (in any way) as less than or worse than us. We basically assume that if we are different from another person, one of us must be better and the other worse. Since we don’t want to be the bad one, we subconsciously look for the bad in the other person so we can cast them as the bad guy, making us feel like the good guy. This can happen in a split second without us even consciously realizing we are doing it.
If you put any two people in a room, they will immediately (subconsciously) either feel intimidated and less than the other person, or slightly better and above the other. The factors influencing this viewpoint may be racial, social, economic or educational, but the more different they are from each other, the more fear and discomfort will be generated. We are also subconsciously afraid of things we don’t understand. So, people who are vastly different from us make us even more uncomfortable. This is why we struggle to accept those of different cultures or sexual orientation. Since we have a hard time understanding them, the difference generates more fear.
Have you noticed how we flock to those who are most like us? We are always more comfortable around our own kind, though we can change this by pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones and over time we can become comfortable around anyone. The problem is that most of us don’t push ourselves to do this. We just stay with our group.
This simple subconscious tendency to fear those who are different is responsible for most of the conflict, fighting, war, prejudice, racism, discrimination and hate on the planet. This tendency to see ourselves as better than others and think that our way is the right way and everyone else is wrong — is dividing countries, communities and even families. It is separating us and drawing all kinds of lines of division. We divide ourselves by political party, religion, neighborhood, which mayonnaise we use, which soda we drink and which school or sports team we cheer for, and then we declare ourselves as better than ‘those people’ and cast them as the enemy.
This has to stop.
But the only way to stop it is to change the way we think about and see each other, and this change has to happen inside the head of every person individually.
The problem is, the only person you have any control over is you.
So, that is where you must start. You must work on changing you.
You can start this year by committing to see all people as the same as you. This is the resolution I recommend in 2015. Practice not letting differences scare you, make you uncomfortable, suspicious or angry. You can practice letting all men be free to be who they are and not see yourself as better than anyone else. You can commit to treat all people as one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable, amazing, divine human beings with the same value as you. You can work on treating people with respect, kindness and acceptance everywhere you go.
You can also check your behavior at all times by asking yourself if the behavior is lawful, kind, respectful, honest or helpful. If it isn’t going to further the cause of liberty, love and brotherhood with all people — don’t say it or don’t do it.
You can also join the march for tolerance, racial unity and peace online, right now. In the old days, people had to gather in a public place to march (to be seen and heard) and draw attention to a cause. You can now reach the world at home through social media.
Visit www.itakethechallenge.com to read more about how to join the march for tolerance and peace on social media. Make a sign, then film a video or take a picture and post them on social media with your commitment to be the solution. Use #iamthesolution with your post. I took the challenge and my video is on Facebook.
Then, directly challenge (call out) three of your friends or neighbors to do the same. Together we could literally flood social media with videos and pictures of people advocating for love, tolerance and unity. Then (and most importantly) back it up with your behavior this year. Make a commitment to actually live what you profess.
Don’t wait to act on this. Do it today. Don’t worry about how you look or the quality of the film. Just do it.
If Martin Luther King Jr. was still here and was organizing a march in your town today, would you join in? Would you be willing to speak out and let the world know that you commit to see all people as equal in value and deserving of respect, justice, tolerance and love?
This is your chance.
The world needs to see and hear from the silent majority who don’t make the news and who aren’t racist, angry or intolerant. It needs to hear from people who understand looting and anger aren’t going to change things. It needs to hear from you.
We need to flood the Internet in 2015 with commitments of peace, equality and love. Remember if you aren’t part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.
Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
Please do something.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a coach and speaker.
My husband is struggling at work and, frankly, everywhere else. He is constantly bothered by things people say and do. He is always afraid his performance isn’t good enough. His self-esteem isn’t good and he is almost always frustrated and offended by something. He seems to have lost himself and in some ways he is giving up. I don’t know if there is anything I can do to help him (or advice you could really give me) but I thought it worth a try. I’d do anything to see him happier.
He has fallen into fear and drifting and doesn’t know how to get himself out. This happens to most of us at some point in our life. You may be in an unhappy marriage, but not doing much to change it or fix it. Instead you might be living around each other, carrying years of resentment and being slightly passive aggressive. You may be in fear at work, doing just enough to get by, but not going anywhere.
You may be just generally unhappy with yourself and life, but can’t see a way to change it. I call this state — stuck in fear drifting. I got that term from Napoleon Hill and his amazing book "Outwitting the Devil."
He says that drifters are the people who dwell in fear and neglect to use their minds to choose their way out. He explains that drifters let other people and situations influence their emotions and they mindlessly react to life with the same old patterns over and over.
He claims that 98 percent of us fall into that category.
“People who think for themselves never drift, while those who do little or no thinking for themselves are drifters. A drifter is one who permits himself to be influenced and controlled by circumstances outside of his own mind… A drifter accepts whatever life throws in his way without making a protest or putting up a fight. He doesn’t know what he wants from life and spends all of his time getting just that.”
“People who think accurately do not drift on any subject. They recognize the power of their own minds. Moreover, they take over that power and yield it to no person or influence” says Hill.
Everyone experiences hard times, failures, embarrassments and mistakes. They are part of the classroom of life, but drifters let those disappointments and failures stop them. They let the fear of failure (the fear of not being good enough) convince them it’s safer to stop trying, stretching and shooting high, that it’s safer to pull back and stay where you are. When you set your sights high you are usually disappointed and you could embarrass yourself.
Take a minute and honestly assess if you are making plans and setting goals to get what you want out of life — or just drifting through?
Napoleon Hill also wrote the famous book, "Think and Grow Rich," one of the bestsellers of all time. In this book he lays out his research on creating success in life. One of the amazing things he discovered interviewing the most successful people of his day was that all of them had experienced great failures and set-backs. Every one without exception had experienced discouraging losses. The difference was their “capacity to surmount failure without being discouraged.” This was “the chief asset of every man who attained outstanding success in any calling.”
These people learned to use their minds to choose how they were going to experience those setbacks. They understood they had control over how those failures affected their value and what losses meant. They learned how to see themselves, other people and situations accurately (without fear of not being good enough in the way). They were people with defined purpose who set goals, believed in themselves and didn’t let any situation or person stop them. They understood the classroom of life gives you problems, but it also provides solutions.
Hill said, “There is a solution for every legitimate problem no matter how difficult the problem may seem.” But the solution won’t just be handed to you. You are going to have to fight, work, learn and stretch to find it. The important point though is that it is there — and you are meant to find it. The universe doesn’t want you to stay stuck and unhappy — ever. It wants you to learn and grow and change your life. Answers and solutions to your problems are available right now!
Here are some suggestions for breaking free from drifting:
If you are having trouble with how to choose them, you may want to find a coach or counselor to help you. I would also highly recommend reading Napoleon Hills books, "Outwitting the Devil" and "Think and Grow Rich."
You can do this!
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book CHOOSING CLARITY: The Path to Fearlessness. She offers free coaching calls every Tuesday night.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.