Filtering by Tag: sport psychology

“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you so you can be what you were meant to be in the first place.”

Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you so you can be what you were meant to be in the first place.
— Unknown

This week the idea of “beliefs” has come up in a variety of situations and conversations with clients and friends. The word Belief can be defined as follows: “an opinion or conviction; confidence, faith and trust; and confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof.” So where do we get our beliefs? Many of our beliefs are not actually our own. They are learned or passed down through our family, the schools we attend, and the communities we are a part of. In his book, "The Biology of Belief," Dr. Bruce Lipton talks about how the conscious and the subconscious play integral roles in our lives.

[The] conscious and subconscious are interdependent. The conscious mind – which represents the seat of our personal identity, source, or spirit – is the creative mind…[it] holds our wishes, desires, and aspirations for our lives…the subconscious mind is primarily a repository of stimulus-response tapes derived from instincts and learned experiences…[it] is fundamentally habitual.

Knowing this, we can begin to separate which beliefs come from us and which beliefs have been programed from others. Our subconscious is actually developed between the years of 0-7. If we remember back to that time period, we were all little sponges just soaking up everything around us. We didn’t have the autonomy to choose or the ability to really question the beliefs that were being instilled in us. Unfortunately, many of our fears or limiting beliefs are housed in our subconscious.     

The title quote of this blog popped up in my timehop the other day and further confirmed the importance of writing about this week’s topic. Our lives and finding our way is really about figuring out which beliefs we have that work for us and which beliefs work against us. Once we acknowledge the ones that don’t work for us, it is then our job to release them and replace them with ones that do serve us. We have so many tools for us to use in order to achieve this: thought stopping/positive replacement, journaling, and visualization are just a few. As previously discussed, these tools are not a one shot deal; they are to be used as a practice in the process of undoing in order to be fully realized as we were intended.  

As we go through this process, there will undoubtedly be times when we get frustrated by our limiting beliefs and where they came from, whether it be a parent, a teacher, or a mentor. It is important to remember that it is not helpful to our journey to hold anger or resentment toward that person. They were only doing what they knew to be true and what beliefs had been instilled in them. However, we can break the cycle. We have the power in ourselves to create the beliefs that support us, allow us to be our best self, and help us to manifest the life we want and deserve.

Take some time to think about which beliefs are working for you and which beliefs are not. Here are some categories and questions to get you started: your beliefs around money – How much do you believe you deserve? Is the energy you bring to money open or resistant? Your beliefs around work – What jobs do you value? What does it mean to be successful in your work? Can your passion be your work? Your beliefs around relationships – Do you believe in a partnership? Are you settling because you don’t believe you deserve more? Once you have written down the beliefs that don’t serve you, re-write them to be beliefs that will serve you. Then, take the old beliefs and burn them. They are no longer a part of you. These new beliefs are your mantras and affirmations.

Your beliefs and thoughts are what create your reality. YOU are in charge of your own beliefs so CHOOSE to believe only that which lifts you up.

 

 

Do you need help releasing the beliefs that are holding you back? I would love to guide and support you through your process! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min discovery call and to hear more about packages.

“Being a leader is not about you. It’s about the people that are on your team and how you can help them be successful.”

Being a leader is not about you. It’s about the people that are on your team and how you can help them be successful.
— Susan Vobejda

Last week, I began to discuss the art of leadership and offered a model from Sport Psychology as a tool, Situational Leadership. Being an effective leader is definitely an art. Though many people have some of the key characteristics that make a good leader, one needs to study and practice the craft to become a master. Another model from Sport Psychology leaders can use as a tool is Group Development, created by Bruce Tuckman.

Tuckman developed this model as a way to describe the journey that most groups go through on their way to high performance. First, lets define a group, or team, as 2 or more individuals that have a common task or goal that they are working towards. This “team” can be a cast of performers, a class of students, a graphic design team, a group of analysts, etc. In each of these examples, the leader has a different title: director, teacher, art director, and portfolio manager. However, all these leaders can use the Situational Leadership model along with the Group Developmental model to elicit high performance.

We learned through Situational Leadership that we should change our leadership style based on the readiness level (task ability and willingness) of the follower. In Group Development, the same construct remains, only this time the follower is the entire team. Tuckman’s four stages are Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. Below is a simple breakdown of the stages along with what Leadership style should be used.

 

Forming – Members have just come together. They are not clear on what is expected of them, what to do, and what the group mission/goals are. They are unfamiliar with other group members so there is no history or trust yet. Therefore, they are not committed to the team, but more to their personal agendas. Productivity/performance level is low. Leadership Style – Directing: Leader should be high directive with one-way communication. In order to move to the next stage, the leader must set goals/mission, establish roles within the group, set up expectations, begin to build group trust, and find ways to get the members to buy into the group as one.

Storming – Members are beginning to fight for different roles. There may be some infighting and smaller cliques forming. Individuals are still being led by their own personal agenda. Some members are starting to buy into the group, while others are still hesitant and maybe even resisting. The group still doesn’t trust each other much, and therefore problem solving is not efficient. Productivity/performance level is still low. Leadership Style – Coaching: Leader should continue to be high directive, but also high supportive with beginning to introduce two-way communication. In order to move to the next stage, the leader should actively reinforce team behavior, support and set up team wins, maintain and expect high expectations, define roles within the group, request and accept feedback, and continue to build group trust.

Norming – Members are aware and accepting of roles. Hidden agendas come to the surface and instead, they all have bought into the team’s mission/goals. Each member knows how he or she fits into that mission and feels purposeful. Feedback is easily given and received because trust has been built. Members are starting to take responsibility for reinforcing team norms, expectations, etc. Productivity/performance level is becoming higher.  Leadership Style – Supporting: Leader should be low directive and high supportive with a lot of two-way communication. In order to move to the next stage, the leader should maintain open communication, support the members in making decisions, but not make the decisions for them. The leader should continue to praise the team’s accomplishments and maintain traditions.

Performing – Members are very motivated and are completely clear on their individual roles. They defer to the team instead of their individual needs and support each other. When problems arise, they think creatively and trust in each other. They take pride in the group as a whole and its successes. Productivity/performance level is high. Leadership Style – Delegating: Leader should be low directive and low supportive, but still maintain a presence. In order to maintain this stage, the leader needs to continue to challenge the team by helping them to set new goals. The leader needs to maintain a presence, but not make the decisions for the team, and support the overall well being of the team.

 

It is important to remember that individual members of the team may be at a different stage than the team as a whole. As a leader, this is where having a strong understanding of the craft is vital because you need to be able to switch your style back and forth. Another important thing to remember is that each stage is necessary to succeeding. You cannot skip any of the stages. In fact, skipping a stage (even Storming) can prove to have a negative effect on the team’s performance. The group has to go through the process step by step. In addition, if a major change happens or an obstacle arises, the team may have to go back to a previous stage and that’s OK.

Situational Leadership and Group Development are wonderful models to use even when reflecting on our own lives. Group Development is a great reminder of the importance of engaging in the process. The process of achieving personal goals is not always easy. There are times when we fight with ourselves (Storming phase) or need that extra support. We can use these models as a lens to help us define what we need and when we need it. Being able to do that is this definition of self empowerment.

 

Do you want to go further in your self-exploration? I would love to guide and support you through your process! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min discovery call and to hear more about packages.

 

“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.”

Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.
— John Maxwell

This week I had the pleasure of leading a workshop for teachers, administrators, and coaches of NYC private schools. The focus of the day was on “Cultivating Leadership In and Out of the Classroom.” In addition to providing the participants with the various mental training tools I have already discussed throughout this blog, I also shared a wonderful model from Sport Psychology called Situational Leadership.

Being a strong and good leader is not an easy task. Ultimately, a leader wants to elicit high productivity from their followers. Situational Leadership is a model developed by Kenneth Blanchard and Paul Hersey with the purpose of helping people in leadership roles to be more efficient and effective in their daily interactions with others. Different than a theory, a model is developed through “concepts, procedures, actions, and outcomes [that] are based on methodologies that are practical and easy to apply.” **

The model consists of four different leadership styles (S1, S2, S3, S4) that are to be used in relationship with the “readiness” levels (R1, R2, R3, R4) of the followers. Readiness is determined by the ability the follower has to complete a skill/task and the willingness of the follower. Below is a simple breakdown of the follower’s readiness level and the appropriate leadership style to use.

R 1 – follower is unable to execute the skill/task and is unwilling or insecure. Leader should use an S 1 style: Directing. In Directing, the leader is providing clear and specific instructions to the follow (what, when, how, where, why) and then closely supervising their performance. The communication is very one-way coming straight from leader to follow. Key words for this style are telling, guiding, and establishing.  

R 2 – follower is still unable to execute the skill/task completely, but is more willing and open. Leader should use an S 2 style: Coaching. In Coaching, the leader is continuing to explain and providing opportunity for clarification, but is also starting to bring in more two-way communication between the follower. Key words for this style are selling, explaining, and persuading.

R 3 – follower is able to execute the skill/task, but is unwilling or insecure. This stage happens usually when people begin to have self doubts about their ability or are not motivated because they aren’t being challenged enough. Leader should use an S 3 style: Supporting. In Supporting, the leader is encouraging the sharing of ideas and is there to help facilitate decision making, but is not making the decisions. Two-way communication is strong. The leader is the cheerleader to the follower helping them to believe in their ability. Key words for this style are participating, encouraging, committing, and collaborating.

R 4  - follower is able to execute the skill/task and is willing/secure. Leader should us an S 4 style: Delegating. In Delegating, the leader is turning over responsibility to the follower for decision making and implementation. The leader should still have a presence, but is implementing low directive and low supportive behavior because the trust and confidence have already been built with the follower. Key words for this style are observing, fulfilling, and monitoring.

 

Situational Leadership is a great model to use in all areas of our lives (personal relationships, reflecting on ourselves, parent/child relationships, etc.) as well as in a variety of professional fields (coaching, education, business/management, etc.). By using these different leadership styles correctly, a leader will be able to not only elicit the highest productivity from their followers, but also empower their followers.

** Hersey, Paul, Blanchard, Kenneth, and Johnson, Dewey. Management of Organizational Behavior: Utilizing Human Resources. Prentice Hall Business Publishing: April 1996.

 

Would you like to become a stronger, more effective leader? I would love to guide and support you in unleashing the leader inside you! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min discovery call and to hear more about packages.

“Taking care of yourself is the most powerful way to take care of others.”

Taking care of yourself is the most powerful way to take care of others.
— Bryant McGill

Last weekend and this weekend, I have had the great opportunity to lead workshops as part of a Ladies Getaway Retreat in VT. This is my second year being part of the retreat. There are many things I love about these weekends. First, it is all women. With the occasional male workshop leader or resort worker, everyone there is female. That may not seem like a huge deal, but it does give a different energy. Second, there are women of varying ages. I love being able to sit back and observe how different generations interact with each other. Many of the participants are family members, whether they are mother/daughter, sisters, or cousins. Third, some of these women have been coming back for 15 years. You can tell they prepare for the weekend with their elaborate snack set up and matching group shirts. Last and most importantly, each woman is there to take time for themselves, whether that means engaging in goal setting workshops or taking a yoga class or learning more about wine through a tasting session. As the participants are leaving, they are always talking about how refreshed they feel, how they have learned at least one thing they can implement into their lives, and how much fun they had relaxing and enjoying their friends.

In general as a society, but even more specifically for women, we forget how important it is to take time for ourselves. If we don’t fill our own “tank” up, we won’t have enough of the proper energy to be there for the other people in our lives. So many times, we give all our energy out to others and then we are left with nothing for ourselves. Have you ever noticed that when you are feeling drained the littlest things can set you off? That is because you have let your own energy tank get too low. One of the themes I talked about in all my workshops this past weekend was that life isn’t about eliminating annoyances, it is about maintaining your inner peace and not allowing the annoyances to get the best of you. This philosophy can be used in all aspects of your life. In your relationship with a significant other when your tank gets too low, you may become more needy or get irritated more easily. While at work, relationships with colleagues can become tenser when your own inner peace is comprised.

So the question is how do we keep our tank full? Giving yourself the gift of going away on a retreat is a perfect way, but we don’t always have that opportunity. Each of us will have a different way to fill our tank, but some common ways are meditating, exercising regularly, reading, being creative, allowing yourself to veg out and watch your favorite show, etc. If we don’t take the time and energy we deserve to help ourselves, we won’t be able to effectively be there for the people that are so important in our lives.

 

Aside: The story of how I got connected with this retreat is an interesting one. I had decided about 2 years ago that I wanted to lead more group workshops at retreats, but didn’t know how to actually go about doing that. About a year and a half ago, I was attending The Big E (the New England version of a state fair) with my family as I have for many years of my life. We were walking through the VT building and I happened to pick up a paper for “Ladies Weekend Getaway.” When I asked the woman behind the counter for more information, I learned that she was the event programmer for the weekend. We got to talking and a month later I was booked to teach 10 workshops over 2 weekends. This just proves that when you get clear about your goals and intentions, the Universe will answer. It may not be quite on your timetable, but if you stay open and say YES (even with the doubts and fears in the background) you will always be provided for.

 

Do you need help maintaining your inner peace and keeping a full tank? 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.

“I’m not a river or a giant bird that soars to the sea. And if I’m never tied to anything, I’ll never be free.”

I’m not a river or a giant bird that soars to the sea. And if I’m never tied to anything, I’ll never be free.
— Stephen Schwartz

This past week, though I have gotten a lot of my time back, has been bittersweet. I have definitely been hit by the post show blues. Throughout the week, different students would come up to me expressing how much they miss the show and how lost they feel. It’s hard to let go of something that became such a huge part of your life; something that was truly magical. When talking to the students and telling them that this would be a hard one to let go of and its OK to feel what they were feeling, I realized that I don’t usually take that advice. I’ve worked on so many shows over the years that I’ve gotten good at compartmentalizing my emotions and usually just jump into the next thing. (I actually do this with other areas of my life as well.) That way I don’t have to feel the hurt and the loss, whether it was a good or a bad thing; for example, the end of a relationship, moving across the country, finishing a job, etc.

Compartmentalizing may seem like the easy solution, but it’s not. Our body holds onto the emotions we are having; they stay inside us until we decide to confront them. It’s OK to feel. In fact, we SHOULD feel. It doesn’t make us weak to acknowledge our emotions and mourn the loss. These are the moments that remind us that we are alive, we are human, that we value things in life and that we were truly present. So this time around, I allowed/made myself let go and feel the emotions.

It’s tough…really tough. I miss the family and world we created where we got to play and live freely. It became a safe place. But at some point we knew we would have to leave that place. We have to challenge ourselves to make a new safe place. We will always hold that family in our hearts. Because of them and our communal experience/process, we will be even better for the next adventure. As one of my students said when interviewed about learning aerial silks, “Learning is hard. The moment it becomes easy, it isn’t learning anymore.” If we stayed in the world we created, we wouldn’t continue to grow and learn.

One of the ways I allowed myself permission to feel was to listen to the soundtrack. Deciding to do this on a busy NYC subway was maybe not the best idea because immediately tears filled my eyes. But they were good tears. I could visualize everything so clearly still. I know the picture will get blurry with time, but I hope to preserve the details for as long as I can. When listening to the "Finale" again, I was struck in a new way by one of Pippin’s last lyrics (the title quote of the blog). Sometimes distance/space from a project gives us new clarity.

I’ll be honest I am very much like the character Pippin. I move around a lot in every sense of the word. I’ve lived in 5 cities in 10 years; as a freelancer, I jumped from project to project; I’m always trying new workouts and dance classes. And I love that lifestyle. I’m currently in my longest streak both job wise and location wise in my adult life. To be honest, this past year has been hard. I have wanted to run and move on to something new so many times. But there is so much truth in this lyric. Pippin finally realizes that moving from one thing to another was actually making him feel confined and stuck. By having something to be tied to, you do have more freedom. Of course, I am choosing to look at being “tied to something” in a non-negative way. It’s not about being weighed down, but instead grounded. This stability then allows you to be free, to explore, to take risks. The stability can come in different forms: staying in a job and viewing it in a new light, finally saying yes to a relationship and going all in, committing to a workout or new lifestyle program.

When reflecting on your life, what have you been shying away from because you think you don’t want to be “tied down?” Can you look at it in a different way? Maybe that very thing is the thing that will give you the freedom you’ve always been searching for.

 

Do you want to find more freedom? 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.

"The day she stopped getting stuck in ‘why’ was the day she finally started getting the answers she was looking for."

The day she stopped getting stuck in ‘why’ was the day she finally started getting the answers she was looking for.

I just finished re-staging a dance I choreographed a few years ago when I was on faculty at a university in CT. The piece is called “Cemented” and was an exploration of feeling stuck. Why do we as people get stuck on the same thought or hold onto a certain memory? Why do we just feel stuck in certain aspects of our life but not others? What makes us unstuck? My creative process always begins with asking a question and then working with my dancers to talk through possible solutions or outcomes both with our bodies and minds. I vividly remember this creative process and how fixated or “stuck “ I was on trying to find an answer to getting unstuck.

I enjoy re-staging my previous work because it allows me to revisit an idea with a new lens. I have new bodies in front of me to work with and though we have a detailed outline already in place, there is still room to play and come up with new solutions. This time around, I realized that I was not so fixated on how to become unstuck, but was more intrigued by the idea of being OK with being stuck.  Why is it that when we are stuck we feel it is necessary to fix something in order to become unstuck? Maybe if we allowed ourselves to marinate in the “unstuckness” we would find something new about ourselves.

Through the creative process this time around, I formed two new perspectives. First, that being stuck means we aren’t being truly present in our lives because we are hoping or waiting for something else to happen (living in the future) or we aren’t allowing ourselves to let go of something (living in the past). Second, that being stuck is something we need to struggle with because it is in the act of struggling, maybe even making some mistakes, and engaging in the day to day stuff that we truly learn and grow as individuals. This is where the deep cognitive learning, the change, and the growth happens; not in the quick fixes. I fully acknowledge that these two perspectives can be somewhat contradictory, but for now I am allowing myself to sit with them.

There is such beauty in re-visiting something over time. We get to come back to it with more knowledge, wisdom, and experience, which allow us to see things in a new light and through a new lens. This is not exclusive to the creative process, but can also be applied to all aspects of our lives: people we have encountered, situations we have experienced, skills/activities we have attempted, beliefs we have held/still hold, limiting views of ourselves, etc.

What are some things you would like to revisit in your life through a new lens? Where are you feeling stuck and can you allow yourself to enjoy the “stuckness” and not judge it?

 

Need help navigating the "stucknesss?" 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.

 

“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.

“Incidental events do not directly cause natural evolution; they just remove the obstacles as a farmer [removes the obstacles in a water course running to his field].”

Incidental events do not directly cause natural evolution; they just remove the obstacles as a farmer [removes the obstacles in a water course running to his field].
— Sri Swami Satchidananda

This past weekend, I had the privilege of going deeper into my yoga practice by attending a Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra training. It was such a special weekend being able to immerse myself in the power of restoring our body not just physically, but energetically as well. When reflecting on the weekend, I was reminded of one of my favorite Sutras (the quote above).

I really love what Satchidananda had to say about the guru being an agriculturist and removing obstacles to reveal what has always been there. I visualize a current of energy that is forever present in our body and soul. Our body/soul is constantly striving towards perfect health and free flowing energy, but sometimes we get in the way and create barriers. When I first started going to my chiropractor, he told me that his job is not to “fix” the person but to remove the obstacles away from the nervous system so that the body can get back to its healthy state.

I believe gurus, or teachers, come to us in many different forms whether they are people, events, situations, physical practices, and even animals (my cat has been one of the best teachers I have had in the past few years). Everything we need to know we already do know deep down inside, but sometimes we need these teachers to help guide us.

Teachers come into our lives to provide us lessons in order to grow and continue on our journeys. They are not there to do the work for us, but to help us remove the blocks so we can live from a more authentic place. There are times when we are not ready yet to learn certain lessons, but the universe will continue to send people or situations until we are ready. It is best when we are open and willing to receive what these teachers have to show us. This is something I sometimes struggle with because of the fear of the unknown. I want to control what’s happening and feel anxious when that control is lost. However, when I look back on different points in my life I see that when I was open to receive and trusted in the process it has always proven to be fruitful, many times providing much more than I could have imagined.

The most important teacher you will have throughout your life is yourself. By using the many tools we have talked about and engaging in practices that resonant with your authentic self, your energy will continuously flow freely.

 

Do you need help clearing the obstacles from your life? 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.

“Creativity is a harmony of opposite tensions, as encapsulated in [the] idea of lila, or divine play.”

Creativity is a harmony of opposite tensions, as encapsulated in [the] idea of lila, or divine play.
— Stephen Nachmanovitch

I have rediscovered the awe-inspiring book, Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art by Stephen Nachmanovitch. This will be my third time reading it and every time I find something new. The first two times I read the book were for assignments in my choreography and composition dance classes. However, the book proved to not only affect my artistic life, but also my personal life. When we think about it, life is one creative process and creativity isn’t just for the artistic elite, but necessary for everyone in order to live a fulfilling and enriched life. Creativity can manifest itself in many forms. We see it clearly through a painting or a dance, but it can also be designing an interactive spreadsheet or figuring out a new way to treat a patient.

A key element to the creative process is improvisation, and a key element to improvisation is play. “Play” plays such an important role in the process of creation, without it we would never access anything new. The rest of the quote above is as follows:

            If we let go of play, our work becomes ponderous and stiff. If we                let go of the sacred, our work loses its connection to the ground             on which we live (Nachmanovitch).

One of the best ways to reconnect with authentic play is to observe children. Children completely immerse themselves in whatever they are doing: an art project, building a fort, playing make believe, telling a story, etc. They aren’t worried about what others think or what’s considered right and wrong; they are just present. They are continuously problem solving, collaborating, and reacting authentically in the moment. Because of this, they are able to more easily enter a Flow state and for the most part are lively and happy.

So what happens as we get older that changes that? It becomes harder for us to “think outside the box,” more challenging to work in groups, and more difficult to think on our toes. We have lost our sense of “play.” As we get older, we are told what we should be like or what we should be doing. Many times, we are told there is only one right answer, and we begin to become more self-conscious. Our mind begins to get in the way of our instincts and our ability to just let loose. Because of this, we have a hard time being totally present in our lives.

Luckily, there are so many ways for us to get back in touch with our inner child and access our creative self! The first step is allowing yourself to take the time. Then, begin to try new things: take a cooking class, go rock climbing, write a short story, go on a nature walk, etc. There are so many new tools at our disposal. Adult coloring books have become a way to relax and get back to a “child like” activity. Groupon is a wonderful way to try a new activity at a lower cost. You can go to a paint night or take a pottery class.  All of these activities allow us to step out of our routine, our comfort zone, and just “play.” Remember to not judge yourself while trying these new things. Allow yourself to enjoy the process. Who knows, you may unleash a side of you you didn’t even know was in there. Not to mention your ability to think more creatively will grow, which can prove to be usual when you’re “adulting.”

 

Do you need help accessing your inner child and releasing your creativity self? 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.

“May your Force awaken and may the Force be with you always.”

May your Force awaken and may the Force be with you always.

***WARNING**** There may be some spoiler alerts with this blog. Ok…so let me begin by saying up until around 3 weeks ago I had never seen a single Star Wars movie. It had become a point of pride, and I actually planned to never see any of them. But then the new one came out, and I was experiencing some FOMO. So over the holiday, I took the plunge and watched the original three films back to back and then this past weekend saw the new one.

After finishing Episode IV, I turned to my boyfriend and said, “this is basically a sci-fi version of the yogi philosophy and the Law of Attraction.” The Force is the Universe and an energy current that is in us and around us. It is always present; we just need to tap into it. The characters represent different aspects of the journey. Luke, being the protagonist, was called to this journey and at first he rejects it. He makes excuses and is driven by fear, but nevertheless he is thrown in.

At the beginning of his journey, he is naïve and untrained but he has the help of his guide, Obi-Wan Kenobi. He is also provided with several friends that accompany him. Han Solo, who also has some resistance at first (he actually says he will choose his own path and no one can force him), represents his mode of transportation. Princess Leia, who we later find out is Luke’s sister, represents that constant support that no matter how much you may doubt yourself or fail, always loves and believes in you. Yoda is literally a yogi guru (he even looks like one). Luke goes to him to learn, train, and master the harnessing of the Force. One of my favorite things that Yoda says to Luke is that Jedis don’t look for conflict. His eagerness to engage in conflict shows the he is not ready. He needs to be patient and trust the process. How many of us can relate that?!?

The dark side is primarily represented through the character Darth Vader. It is no surprise that Darth would be related to Luke. Where there is light there is always dark. We have the choice to follow one path or the other. Darth chose the path of the dark side. He tempts Luke to give into his anger and hatred and cross over to the dark side. This is a struggle that we all deal with on a continual basis. But we have the choice to not give in to our darkness, but rather uphold our light.

Many of the same themes are present in the newest Star Wars film, but one thing that struck me as new was the character of Fin. Fin was raised from birth to be a stormtrooper. Yet, in his first battle he chooses to escape the First Order knowing that what it represents isn’t right. Again after some wavering back and forth as to whether to stay and help Rey and the droid, he finally realizes his calling to be part of the Resistance. I find this new construct to be interesting because many times we feel we are trapped by our environment, whether that be where we grew up, financial limitations, etc, but we always have the ability to change our trajectory if it doesn’t resonate with us. It may be not be an easy task, but once we make this decision the Universe, or The Force, will always be with us and guide us. We also see in this film that the representation of the dark side, Ben, is having an eternal struggle and feeling a pull to the Light. Again, he is related to some of our main players yet still chose the dark side. Leia tells Han to bring back their son; that there is still light in him. This is true for all of us. No matter our decisions or current path, there is always Light in us. We just need to acknowledge it and choose to follow it. However, no one but ourselves can do that for us.

Rey is an interesting character in that she had been sticking to the task of waiting for her family to come back for most of her life. Little did she know the Force, aka the Universe, had more in store for her. By seeing someone/something in need and being an honest and helpful person she found herself down a path that actually led to what she wanted all along. She said Yes. And every time she continued to say Yes, the Force within her continued to grow stronger and support her. Even without any formal training, she was able to defeat Ben because at that point she fully surrendered to the Force. She didn’t even completely understand it. How often do we do that in our own lives?

I truly believe that this was the time in my life that I was supposed to watch these movies. Like Luke, and others on their journeys, we aren’t always ready. If I had seen the movies when I was younger or even 3 years ago, I would not have made the connections that I did now and enjoyed the movies on this deeper level. It really goes to show you that everything happens in the perfect time/space sequence. Are you ready to surrender, say Yes, harness the Force with the many tools you have been given, and embark on your journey? Once you are able to make this choice, the Universe will provide the guides you need, the support to help you through, and the teachers to show you the way. You just have to say Yes and trust. May the Force be with you!

 

I would love to be your Obi-Wan or Yoda and help 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.

“An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming.”

An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming.

I first heard this quote a few years ago while taking a yoga class. The teacher was leading us through a beautiful vinyasa flow class and used this quote while we were in warrior II so we could visualize something we wanted to release or manifest in our lives as we pulled back our imaginary bow and launched it into the universe. I found this physical, visual, and meditative sequence to be so empowering. We came back to it a few times throughout the class and each time I loved it even more.

Many times throughout our journey, we feel we are taking steps backwards. No matter how hard we try, it just doesn’t seem like we are making any progress. Most of the time we are focusing on concrete changes or feedback to validate whether we are being successful in our goals: for example, being recognized for a job well done at work in the hopes of getting promoted or getting on the scale and seeing a lower number. When these things don’t happen we may begin to loose motivation.

However, change is a process and many times there are major shifts energetically and internally that need to happen before we see a physical manifestation. Just because a boss doesn’t verbally recognize you doesn’t mean she/he doesn’t appreciate your hard work and have more in store for you. Not losing pounds doesn’t mean that your body isn’t getting in better shape. Muscle weighs more than fat.

When working towards one of your goals, if you find you are losing motivation think of this quote. Use it as a mantra to help you stop the downward spiral and trigger you into thinking more positively. You can go even further by making the mantra physical. Warrior II is a pose that everyone can access (video tutorial). When you are in this pose, take your front hand and hold the imaginary bow in front of you. Visualize your goal or anything you feel is standing in your way. Then, take your back hand and pull the imaginary arrow back to your cheek and when you are ready, let it go. Do this sequence a few times on both sides. Remember to connect your breath to your movement.

The more we, “the arrow,” get pulled back the harder we fight against it. Persistence and hard work due pay off. Keep building your foundation, staying present in the work you are doing, fall back on your tools if necessary so that when that arrow finally launches you are fully ready to receive all that you deserve!

 

 

The New Year is a great time to get clear on our goals and make the changes we have always wanted to make. I would love to help and support you in your journey! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min discovery call.

 

“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. “

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.
— Bill Vaughn

I always find it interesting (especially now with social media) that in the matter of a few days people’s posts go from pictures of family and friends, holiday decorations, words of love and encouragement to posts of desperation for the current year to end and proclamations for what has to be a better year to come. Why does this shift happen? Are we programmed to look back at things and only see the negative when an “end” is coming?

A few years ago when I was reading a lot about energy frequencies and the Law of Attraction, I began to think about New Year’s differently. I used to be one of those people who couldn’t wait to get rid of one year and truly believed the New Year would provide all that was lacking. However, it became clear to me that even though the ball dropping is a magical moment that I love watching, that ball doesn’t have the power to help me release my negative feelings and help me focus on positive ones. Only I was capable of doing that. If I truly wanted to step into the New Year and attract new opportunities, happiness, health, etc., I needed to leave the previous year radiating on a high/positive energy frequency. This meant I needed to make a major change in the way I viewed my life on a daily basis.

The easiest way to start shifting our mindset is gratitude. There are several ways to start a gratitude practice, which I have already highlighted in a previous post. However, there is one practice I started specifically in relation to New Year’s. Each year, I start with an empty mason jar and throughout the year I write on little note cards and post-it notes enjoyable moments. They range from vacations I went on to professional achievements to impromptu game nights with friends. On New Year’s Eve before celebrating, I read each moment and spread them out on my bed. It’s amazing the amount of things we forget even over one year, but truly incredible to be reminded of them. You can’t help but feel happy, full, thankful, and excited to continue to live this journey you have been given. This practice is so simple and easy to do on a daily basis, yet its payback is so great.

A new practice I am starting this year is to write myself a letter with the intentions I would like to set forth for the New Year. I am not a big fan of “resolutions” as I believe many times resolutions are just statements and not actual goals. This letter will serve as the basis for the goals I would like to set, but more importantly will be a private letter to myself reflecting on this past year and giving encouragement for the intentions I set for the New Year. I will then seal this letter and open it at the end of the year. Reflection is a useful tool in our journey and this letter will be a fun new way for me to do that.

I hope you all have a safe and happy New Year! I leave you with this link, which I hope helps to inspire your positive energy frequencies as you approach 2016.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/2015-was-okay

 

And don’t’ forget, I’m currently having a special on Intro Packages. I would love to help you get clear on your goals for 2016 and support you in your journey! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min guided meditation or discovery call and to hear more about the package.

 

“10 things to help you enjoy the holidays”

10 things to help you enjoy the holidays

1. Take time for yourself. This could be through guided meditation, visualization, journaling, or just sitting still. Taking 10 min a day for yourself can change your mindset and keep you balanced. 

2. Practice mindful listening. Being present in your conversations will make your time spent with family and friends more meaningful. 

3. Connect to your breath. Your breath is your life force. Breath exercises can help to relax, energize, and balance you. 

4. Redirect your negative thoughts. The holidays can be stressful at times and your negative self talk can start to take over causing a downward spiral. You can choose to stop the negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.  

5. Be thankful. Gratitude is the greatest gift you can give yourself and those around you. There is always something to be thankful for. 

6. Stay hydrated. Drink a glass of water when you first wake up. Try to get to 8 glasses a day. You can always add lemon or cucumber to make it more exciting. 

7. Be active. During the holidays our routines are altered and we tend to be less physically active and more indulgent of the goodies around us. Take the time everyday to stretch or do 20 min of cardio or yoga. Moving your body helps to clear the stale energy out. 

8. Rediscover your inner child. The holidays are a perfect time to connect with your inner child and remember that life is truly magical. Play a new game, laugh with friends and family, make something, etc. 

9. Be kind. Do something everyday that gives back to the community. Maybe it's small like helping someone with their bags or maybe you volunteer at a local shelter. 

10. Smile. Smiling will not only make you feel better but you never know when it will brighten up the day of someone around you as well. 

 

I’m currently having a special on Intro Packages. Treat yourself and start 2016 on a positive note! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min guided meditation or discovery call and to hear more about the package.

“The wind does not blow to make trees dance, but to test their roots.”

The wind does not blow to make trees dance, but to test their roots.

This past semester in both my dance and yoga classes, I have been emphasizing the important relationship between stability and flexibility. Some students have an amazing capacity when it comes to flexibility. They can fold themselves and lift their legs in ways I only dream about. However, it is important that they also build up the musculature needed to support them. Other students have such strength in their ability to hold a balance or yoga pose for a lengthy amount of time. However, it is important that they also take the time to stretch themselves so they can go deeper in their technique/practice.

The balance between stability and flexibility not only serves us in our physical practice, but also our mental and emotional practice. Having a strong foundation provides us stability so that we can become more flexible in other areas of our life. For example, a person with a daily meditation practice is creating a resilient internal foundation that will help them when dealing with adversity. Being able to adapt to change, or be flexible, allows us to approach new situations with an open mind. We can use what we learn from each situation as a way to continue shaping the person we want to be, a process that is never ending.

However, being too rigid or too flexible can be detrimental. It becomes debilitating when we are so stuck in our routine that the slightest change throws our day off. Likewise, it is unhealthy if we spread ourselves too thin or we are always accommodating to other people’s needs. Knowing when to stay grounded and say “no” allows us to be more resilient and durable. I like to visualize the image of tree blowing in the wind. Even when the wind is forceful, the tree does not crack and break. Instead, its roots provide stability so that the branches can move freely.

Through self reflection, we can determine whether we tend to be more of a rigid person or more of an accommodating person. If you find you are more rigid, maybe you change one little thing in your routine a day. Or maybe each month you set a goal to try something new and completely out of your comfort zone, challenging you to let go a little more. If you find you are too flexible, maybe you set up a daily mindfulness practice to help ground yourself. Or maybe you take the time to prioritize the things in your life and commit yourself to supporting these priorities. Finding and maintaining a balance of both qualities is ideal in a healthy and fulfilled life.

 

Need more guidance in finding your balance? Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min guided meditation or discovery call!

“Crying helps me slow down and obsess over the weight of life’s problems.”

Crying helps me slow down and obsess over the weight of life’s problems.
— Sadness, "Inside Out"

One of my favorite movies of 2015 was Pixar’s Inside Out. Though it may seem like Joy would have been my favorite character from reading my previous blogs and the importance I place on changing our mindset to think positively, Sadness was actually my favorite. Without Sadness, there would be no Joy.

If you aren’t familiar with the movie, Inside Out, here’s a quick summary. The five emotions (Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear) are humanized as characters and occupy mission control in young Riley’s head. They are in charge of holding onto her memories, which get turned into colored memory balls correlating with each emotion and stored in the memory bank. Pixar even goes so far as categorizing them into long term, short term, subconscious, etc. Without giving too much away, Joy and Sadness go on a journey to help save Riley’s core memories, which make up the essence of who she is.

There are so many things I loved about this movie, but the main thing was that it showed us the importance of all different types of memories. Each memory, whether it’s a happy one or a sad one, makes us who we are. We learn from them and hopefully grow from them using the reflection tools we’ve already discussed (journaling, affirmations, visualization, etc.).

One of the reasons I appreciated Sadness was that she reminded us that it’s ok to feel crappy. It’s ok to cry. It’s even ok to take a day and binge watch a show because you are feeling down on yourself. We need these moments in order to understand and really value the joyful moments.

We often hear people tell us when we are upset or depressed to take it one step at a time and climb back up that ladder or mountain. In that visual, we are assuming that the pinnacle of the journey is happiness. Therefore, it is also assumed that with one faulty step we will fall all the way back down. I like to visualize our journey as more of a circle or a cycle. The goal is to try and stay on the top half of the circle. It’s comforting to know that one wrong step or set back isn’t going to make us tumble all the way down, but instead maybe sway back and forth a little on the top curve. This allows us to be less hard on ourselves and instead gives ourselves the space and time to work on balancing back on top. Happiness isn’t one pinnacle point that we are trying to obtain, but rather the act of engaging in the circle of life. (And yes, that is a The Lion King reference. )

 

Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min guided meditation or discovery call!

“Relax the mind; Renew the body; Revive the soul.”

Relax the mind; Renew the body; Revive the soul.

Happy Thanksgiving! The holiday season is officially underway. The next few weeks will be filled with decorations, Christmas songs, holiday parties, family and friends, shopping, acts of kindness, and love. Though it is a wonderful season, it can also be overwhelming and stressful at times. It is important to take care of ourselves first so that we can then take care of those around us. Using our visualization practice for relaxation can help to calm the mind and release the tension our body is holding. 

To begin this type of visualization, I like to start with the breath followed by a body scan. My favorite breath technique for relaxation is Yogi Breath, also known as 3 Part Breath. Laying on your back or sitting in a chair with a long spine, close your eyes and begin to observe your natural breath. Once you have settled, start to lengthen your inhales and exhales. Begin by inhaling through your nose and filling up your belly, then, ribs, then chest. Pause for a moment and then exhale through your nose chest, ribs, and belly. Continue this for at least five cycles. With every inhale you breathe in health, happiness, and harmony; with every exhale you breathe out tension, toxins, and troubles.

A body scan allows us to go even deeper in relaxation. I like to start at the crown of the head, the 7th chakra, and imagine a white light radiating above me. Invite this white light into your body and visualize it flowing, swirling, and filling up every nook and cranny. As this peaceful white light travels through your body, it gently massages and releases the tension and any negative emotions that do not serve you anymore. Once the white light has reached your toes, do one more quick scan and send your breath to the parts of your body needing a little extra attention.

For some people, this may be enough to relax your mind, body, and rejuvenate yourself. For others, you may want to go even further and begin to visualize a place that brings you peace and comfort. For example, walking on a beach at sunset, feeling the sand in between your toes, hearing the soothing sounds of the waves, smelling the cooling salt water, and seeing the beautiful colors of the sky as the sun goes to sleep. Continue to be vivid with your images and control outside and negative thoughts. Experiment with the perspective you are using and continue to use your breath as your foundation. The more you engage in this practice the stronger the impact the images will have on your mind and body. You can begin to use the words like beach, sand, or waves as trigger words for those times when life gets overbearing. A reminder that trigger words can be a single word or phrase that initiate a process or course of action. In this situation, the word “beach” initiates the feelings of relaxation, peace, and balance because of your visualization practice.

This week continue to keep your visualization log, but this time focus on relaxation. Begin with your breath and body scan. Then experiment with imagery. Try to maintain the 3 min a day or challenge yourself with longer sessions. This will increase your ability to focus and concentrate. At the end of the week, observe how you feel. Do you feel more grounded? Maybe more able to manage the stresses in your life? Maybe you can make it a habit to take at least 5-10 min a day to step away from the chaos and connect back to yourself.

 

Are you ready to manifest the changes you want in your life? I'd love to help you! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min guided meditation or discovery call!

“Visualize the things you want, see it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blue print, and begin to build.”

Visualize the things you want, see it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blue print, and begin to build.
— Robert Collier

This week a few of my clients had auditions for college Musical Theater programs. Many of them get very anxious for the dance portion, specifically being able to pick up the choreography quickly and be able to execute it properly in a small group. When we get to visualization in our sessions, I teach them the many beneficial uses of a strong visualization practice, one of them being skill acquisition. In this case, they use visualization to remember the sequence, to be able to practice the combination even when they need to be still on the sidelines, and to increase their confidence. I am happy to report that they all felt very proud of themselves post the dance audition and fingers crossed they all get accepted to the program of their dreams!

Last week, I talked about the foundations of a strong visualization practice and using the 5 senses to create vivid pictures in our head. In addition, it is important to control the amount of outside thoughts and negative thoughts that enter the visualization. This week, I would like to discuss the different lenses we have to look through when we visualize. This becomes very important when we are trying to see what it is we want and then be able to embody what it is we want.

There are three lenses we have when visualizing: external, internal, and external/external. In the external lens, you step outside of your body and see yourself engaging in the action you are visualizing. In the internal lens, you are inside of your body, feeling what it is like to be in the action, and seeing everything around you. In the external/external lens, you see someone else executing the action you hope to embody. This lens should really only be used if you are having trouble visualizing yourself. For example, maybe you are trying to learn how to serve the ball in tennis and you can’t quite imagine yourself doing it correctly, but you can imagine your instructor executing the form perfectly. You may visualize this way for a little while until you feel more confident. However, it is crucial that you switch to seeing yourself executing the activity at some point.

In the external lens, you get to see yourself fully engaged in the activity of the visualization. You can even slow the visualization down or speed it up. By being able to see yourself being successful in your visualization, you begin to become more confident and your goal becomes more real. It is important to be able to switch the lens to internal after a while. Being able to visualize through the internal perspective allows your mind and body to connect. You begin to embody that which you hope to manifest. You can start to feel what it means to obtain that goal, emotionally and psychologically.

You can use the visualization technique for many aspects of your life. For example, maybe you have a big presentation coming up at work. By visualizing yourself externally and internally, you are able to practice and embody your presentation without actually verbalizing anything. You can zoom your lens to be able to see even the smallest details. You can make changes to the things you think are not working. And most importantly, you can see yourself being successful, which enhances your confidence and will help you to perform optimally when the time comes. Or maybe you just want to improve your golf game for the next time you go out on the course with your friends.

This week, continue to keep your visualization log, but this time pick one of the steps of the goal that you created during our goal setting week. Begin with the external lens (external/eternal if you need to) and set your timer to at least 3 min. When you are done, write down your reflections, taking note of how vivid you were, if you could stay consist in the lens perspective, if you were able to control outside and negative thoughts, and things you would like to improve upon in your practice. After a few days, switch the lens to internal and do the same. At the end of the week, observe (without judgment) how your practice is going.

 

Are you ready to manifest the changes you want in your life? I'd love to help you! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min guided meditation or discovery call!

 

“Visualization is daydreaming with a purpose.”

Visualization is daydreaming with a purpose.
— Bo Bennett

As a child, I used to pass the time during church or when I was bored in class mentally running through the various dances I was learning at my studio or rehearsing for a show. Sometimes, I would even fantasize what my life would look like living in NYC and being immersed in the hustle and bustle of the musical theatre world. In high school, when I was stressed or overwhelmed and had trouble falling asleep I would close my eyes and imagine each muscle of my body relax starting at my head and ending at my toes. Little did I know at the time, but what I was doing in each of these situations was building a foundation for a practice that continues to change my life on a daily basis.

Last week, I talked about making a plan using proper goal setting techniques in order to make the changes we want in our lives. This week I would like to offer a very powerful technique to help throughout the process, visualization. Visualization is a cognitive process where one uses mental imagery to simulate or recreate visual perception. Visualization can help improve self-confidence, manage pain and stress, acquire new skills, and manifest changes in our lives. Like everything else, visualization is a practice. It may come easier to some than others, but the good thing is that through repetition we can become more skilled in it.  

When teaching visualization, the first thing I talk about is being able to close your eyes and practice seeing vivid and clear images. Think of the five senses (see, hear, touch, taste, and smell) as a starting point. Be as detailed as you can when visualizing the images or the scenario. Next, implement your mental and emotional feelings into the visualization. This allows the visualization to penetrate and connect the body, mind, and spirit. Finally, make sure that you are controlling your mind by not allowing outside thoughts to distract you or negative thoughts to creep in.

For the next week, try to visualize once a day. Set a timer for 3 minutes and close your eyes. Start by noticing your breath and lengthening your inhales and exhales. Then, begin to imagine a place you know well, your bedroom, office, etc. See that place in as much detail as you can using the five senses as your guide. It may be difficult at first to complete the 3 minutes without outside thoughts coming in, but go until the timer goes off. If you find 3 minutes is becoming easy, extend the time and start to zoom into specific areas of the room so you can get even more detailed in the picture you are creating. Keeping a visualization log reflecting on each session will be helpful in observing your progress. In the log, write down if outside or negative thoughts crept into the mind, whether you were able to access all five senses, and how specific you could get when zooming in.

Once we have the foundational skills for a strong visualization practice, we can use it in all areas of our life. Next week, I will go into more specific ways to use visualization. For example: how to use visualization when preparing for an audition, interview, or big presentation; and how visualization can be combined with trigger words to help with stress and anxiety.

 

Are you ready to manifest the changes you want in your life? I'd love to help you! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min guided meditation or discovery call!

 

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
— Lao Tzu

This past weekend I had the privilege of watching a few friends run the NYC Marathon. To be honest, it was my first experience watching at marathon in general. I never understood the purpose of going just to watch. However, within 5 minutes of standing in the first location I went to I was in tears. I was overwhelmed with the determination and perseverance of each runner and the amount of support and positivity each spectator was giving out. It was amazing to see people genuinely cheering on runners they didn’t even know at all. When talking to one of my friends who ran the marathon the next day, she tried to articulate the feelings she had throughout. She, too, was overwhelmed by the support from friends, strangers, and fellow runners. During the miles where she felt she might not be able to do it, it was this support that helped her through it.

It’s obvious that running a marathon not only takes a lot of physical preparation, but also a huge amount of mental training as well. If a runner goes into the process only focusing on the 26.2 miles that can become daunting and seemingly impossible. They need to set up a training program that takes them step by step and mile by mile over a period of time. If they stick to this plan, chances are they will reach the finish.

The same goes for manifesting the changes we want to see in our lives. Proper goal setting is the key to seeing our dreams become realities. When working with clients, I guide them in creating a plan made up of SMART goals.

          S – specific

          M – measurable

                                A – attainable

                  R – realistic

                  T – time sensitive

We begin by creating a macro-goal, a larger goal to be achieved over a period of time. Next, I have them list all the things they need to achieve this goal. This could include learning a new skill or an increase in finances. One thing everyone always needs is support. Even if we are extremely independent, it is crucial to have a support system to help you through those rough patches. The support can come in a variety of forms, whether that is a coach that is there to hold you accountable and help you to strategically work through obstacles or family and friends that are there to love you unconditionally.  Then, I have them list all the possible obstacles and distractions. By recognizing the problems we may encounter, we can then make a plan to overcome them. Many times these obstacles are not physical, but are actually rooted in mental and emotional blockages. Finally, I guide them into making medium size goals and then micro, or small, goals for each of the medium goals. When that is done, we now have a step by step plan, similar to the marathon training program, to achieve that long term goal. The impossible just became possible!  

 

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