Filtering by Tag: journal

“Scared and sacred are spelled with the same letters. Awful proceeds from the same root word as awesome. Terrify and terrific. Every negative experience holds the seed of transformation.”

Scared and sacred are spelled with the same letters. Awful proceeds from the same root word as awesome. Terrify and terrific. Every negative experience holds the seed of transformation.
— Alan Cohen

About a year ago, I was taking a beautiful vinyasa flow yoga class and the teacher began with the beginning part of this quote. It resonated deeply with me. I made sure to write it down as soon as class was over. Recently, I have been revisiting the idea of fear when working with my clients and it got me thinking about this quote again. When we are scared it is usually because we are afraid of something; the fear is taking over in our mind. It then manifests itself physically, whether that is literally running away from something or pain in the body caused by stress and anxiety. But what if we stopped and shifted our mindset about fear? Maybe fear isn’t always negative or debilitating, maybe it’s actually a positive indicator and can be used to facilitate.

We are programmed to think when the knot in our stomach starts churning that whatever is causing it is bad and we should remove ourselves from it. But sometimes that knot is telling us something else. It’s reminding us that we have a lot of energy towards whatever is causing the reaction and that we can choose to view that energy as a positive thing. Instead of allowing our mind to downward spiral, maybe the knot is there to tell us that finally something has come along that challenges and excites us. So why are we doubting ourselves?

For example, say an opportunity presents itself, and this could be the very thing that you need to take that next big leap in your career. At first, you are super excited, but then that knot comes in and you begin to “read” it as maybe it’s not the right time, how will this effect your personal life, do you actually have the skills to be successful? The list goes on and on. However, sometimes we aren’t actually afraid of failure, but really of succeeding. What if you do get what you have always wanted and it’s not what you thought it would be? Allowing yourself the space/time and self freedom to really understand where the fear is coming from can help you to realize that fear is not always bad. In fact, a little fear can go a long way in guiding you in the right direction. We have to push ourselves into the unknown in order to create new and amazing things. If we don’t, we stay complacent.

This week lets go back to journaling. Think about some of the goals you have created and ask yourself: “What is holding me back in taking the next step? What am I afraid of?” Then just start writing. Don’t stop to judge or analyze what you have written, just continue writing until you have gotten it all out. After some time, go back to what you wrote and observe (without the critical eye) what you wrote. Are there any new realizations? Has it become clearer the reasons you are holding back? What if you gave yourself the freedom to release the negative energy around these thoughts and instead looked at them through a positive lens? Maybe the thing you are most scared of will become the thing that is most sacred to you.

 

Do you need help shifting your mindset about fear? I would love to guide you and support you in your journey! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min discovery call and to hear more about packages.

“Surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel, energies are contagious.”

Surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel, energies are contagious.

Last week I began to discuss creativity and the importance of “play.” Creativity is essential to everyone in order to live a fulfilling and engaged life. Play is the most basic form of improvisation, which is necessary during the creative process. The creative process is not exclusive to artists and the act of making art; each of our lives is its own creative process. For one to be successful in a creative process, it is crucial to have a safe environment where we feel we can experiment, take risks, fall and get back up, and be vulnerable. Without all of these elements, we can’t and won’t grow as an individual.

In Sport Psychology, we have two categories for environments: task oriented and win oriented. In a task oriented environment, a person engages in an activity or skill for the purpose of mastering the skill to build confidence and grow. They are intrinsically motivated. In a win oriented environment, a person engages in an activity or skill for the purpose of being better than others rather than for self improvement. They are extrinsically motivated. As we discussed previously, in order to reach a Flow state, or optimal performance, we need to be intrinsically motivated, comfortable enough to take risks, receive timely feedback, and proper support. A task oriented environment provides the appropriate structure, where a win environment feeds into negative competition, self doubt when “failing,” and can perpetuate the downward spiral.

Improvisation/play is a great example for an activity within a task oriented environment. There is no one correct answer, and participants continue to engage in the activity because of its enjoyment and the discoveries they make. Unfortunately, many of the environments we find ourselves in as we get older are more often win oriented environments. Schools like to say they are nurturing and more task oriented, but many times the learning that is happening is directed towards a specific outcome. The constant testing and the pressure of grades provide a win environment where students are constantly comparing themselves to classmates and even students outside their school.  This environment makes it much harder to achieve a flow state and enjoyment of the material, leaving many students worn out and skeptical about being a lifelong learner.

Reflect on your own life and the decisions you have made. Did you decide to get that certificate because you wanted to better yourself as a manager and a person or because you knew you would get a salary bump? Did you go into a field of study because you felt it would provide you a more “successful” job rather than studying something you loved and would make you happy? Knowing your motivation can help you to make decisions. Doing something that motivates you intrinsically, will help to fuel you and fulfill you. Doing something that motivates you extrinsically, will most likely drain you and lead to unhappiness. If you continue to make decisions based on what resonates with your authentic self you will create a life of fulfillment.

Now reflect on your environment, both personal and professional. Who are the people you surround yourself with? Do they lift you up, support your accomplishments, and energize you? Or are they competitive and drain you? What activities are you engaging in? Do these activities support a healthy lifestyle: mind body and spirit? Or are they distractions? We have the power to create a task oriented environment, where we are not only supported but also encouraged to be our best self!

This week, take the time to journal about the environment around you. Notice what is serving you and what is not anymore. Remember to observe without judgment. From there, brainstorm some changes you can make so that you can begin to create or strengthen the environment you want. Even the smallest changes will shift the energy around you.

 

Do you need help creating the environment you deserve? I would love to help you and support you in your journey! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min discovery call and to hear more about packages.

“It is not happiness that brings us gratitude, it is gratitude that brings us happiness.”

It is not happiness that brings us gratitude, it is gratitude that brings us happiness.

Earlier this week, I was having coffee with a friend when an alarm went off on my phone at 9 am playing a whimsical melody. Confused, my friend asked what it was. I explained it was the reminder to write in my gratitude journal. This sparked a conversation about what a gratitude journal was and then the question, “what if you don’t have anything to be thankful for?”

This week’s focus is on the practice of gratitude. Gratitude is defined as the “quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.” For some, this practice may come easy and for others, there may be some challenges because we are used to talking about all the things we don’t have and all the things we wish were different in our lives. The great thing is that we can use our positive replacement tool to help us see our lives through a different lens.

Years ago, I started a gratitude practice where I bought a special journal (there is nothing better than buying a new journal) and I wrote on the first page, “Things I am Thankful For. No Negativity Allowed.” I made a commitment to myself to write every day at least 10 things I am thankful for. At first, this was hard, especially on the days when I was struggling with who I was and where my life was going. I forced myself to dig deeper and always came up with 10 things. Then there were other days when I couldn’t stop writing things I was thankful for. I started realizing that after a while I looked forward to writing things down and that my overall outlook on life had shifted.

There are many ways to start a gratitude practice. You can dedicate a journal to just the things you are thankful for and decide to write in it every morning when you wake up or right before bed. Nowadays, with technology there are apps that are digital gratitude journals where you can even upload a photo to each day’s entry. (This is what I actually use now since I travel a lot.) Another practice I started a few years ago was on Jan 1st to take a big mason jar and throughout the year write special moments, exciting accomplishments, etc on colored post-its and place them in the jar. On New Year’s Eve, I open the jar and spread the post-its out on my bed and read each one of them. It’s amazing the amount of things we forget over the year, and I love getting to relive each memory even for just a second (not to mention the different colored post-its make an aesthetically pleasing collage).

I did answer my friend’s question, “what if you don’t have anything to be thankful for?” There is always something…waking up each morning, being able to eat, having a loving family, supportive friends. Living in NYC, I am always reminded to be thankful that I have an apt with a bed, heat in the winter, and air conditioning in the summer. These may sound like givens, but for many they are not. Even when it feels like everything is going against us, every experience offers a space to grow emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, and for that we should be thankful.

The small amount of time it takes to stop and be thankful will be rewarding in so many ways. I challenge you to start a practice of your own and after a week reflect on how you feel, how you view your life, and how you see the world around you.

 

Are you ready to shift your lens and live a more fulfilled and authentic life? I'd love to help you! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min complimentary coaching call!

Copyright © 2019 Stephanie Simpson, All rights reserved.