• Read Your values matter in life and leadership.  Here’s why.

    Authenticity, Leadership, Life Direction and Purpose, Mindfulness

    Your values matter in life and leadership.  Here’s why.

    A discussion about values can often seem like an artificial conversation.  It’s a nice to have, not a need to have, right?  Something I do once at a training course because the facilitator forces me to do it, and then I shove the paper they’re written on in a desk drawer and forget about it and go on with the rest of my business. Values can help or hinder our growth and development What’s interesting to understand about values is they can help us or hinder us.  And that might seem counterintuitive, because aren’t values a good thing?  The answer is, it depends.  Let’s say I value accuracy.  If I place too much emphasis on accuracy, I might find myself overworking reports, overworking data, to an extent that’s unnecessary for the task at hand.  Many of us trip ourselves up this way and forget the tried and tested 80/20 rule. One value that I tend to hear a lot from clients is trust.  Trust is an interesting one because we often gravitate towards it if we’ve been hurt in the past.  Maybe our parents got divorced and it eroded our trust in them.  Maybe a spouse or partner cheated on us, and the result was devastating, we can never trust again.  Maybe a business partner stole money from us, or a family member wronged us.  The list goes on and on. Based on these life experiences we then conclude that trust is the most important thing in any relationship, and we cling onto it for dear life.  We suspiciously look for signs that someone might be untrustworthy.  We fear that our worst nightmare will come true, and then it does.  We reinforce this idea by telling ourselves things like, “the only person I can trust is myself.” Fear based values versus conscious based values Don’t misunderstand me, it’s not wrong to value trust.  But it’s worth thinking about the relationship you have with your values.  Did I consciously choose to value trust because it’s important to me, or am I desperately clinging to this value out of fear?  And if I’m clinging to a value out of fear, how might that be blinding me?  How might I then be unconsciously creating the situation I fear? For years I clung to authenticity.  It was my biggest personal value.  And when I think about my personal history, that makes perfect sense.  I grew up in a household where conformity was valued, and I often felt like I could never be myself or loved for who I am.  I had to fight very hard for the right to just be myself.  I even prided myself at one point of being the proverbial black sheep of the family.  I was so concerned with losing my “authentic self” that it inadvertently blinded me to choices I might have liked but wouldn’t even consider because they seemed on the surface to be too conforming. A few years ago, I gave up authenticity as my most important […]

    August 11, 2022

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    3.9 min read

  • Read How free are you really?

    Mindfulness

    How free are you really?

    I spent the last few days up in Taos in the mountains on vacation, desperately trying to keep up with my energetic husband on the high mountain trails.  As I was huffing and puffing up the slopes of Wheeler Peak at 13,200 feet, one has some time to think deep thoughts, the alternative is to be consumed with fear about sliding off the mountain.  And as the 4th of July holiday passed, it inspired me to think about freedom, and what is means to be truly free. There are things like freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the types of rights contained within our constitution.  And then there are the more subtle elements that lie within the recesses of our minds.  Because when you really start to think about what it means to be free, quite often, the inhibitor of our freedom lies within. Fixation on the Future To what extent do I really have control over my thoughts?  Or am I a slave to anxiety, negativity, burnout?  Often each day we’re locked in unconscious patterns of thought.  Our focus and attention are hijacked.  We forget our innate self-worth and often fixate on accomplishments and accolades as proof that we are worth something.  Am I good enough?  Am I smart enough?  Have I accomplished enough?  Will I ever have enough time to get everything done? We worry unnecessarily rather than focus on the moment we are in.  We float through our day, half present, consumed by the thoughts in our head, not really connecting with others, not really enjoying the moment, or appreciating where we are at, because we’re so consumed by where we need to be.  Once we get to where we think we need to be, we’re consumed by a new need, a new want.  A new client, a new project, a new job, a new career.  Because unfortunately when we’re fixated on the future, there’s no end in sight.  Our needs and wants are unlimited. No wonder we’re so exhausted. Fixation on the Past Or maybe we’re ruminating on the past.  Which can often be a recipe for depression.  I should have done that differently.  I shouldn’t have had that conversation that way.  I messed up.  I made a bad decision.  If I knew then what I knew now… But the point is you didn’t.  What are you holding onto from the past?  How is holding onto this limiting your capacity to feel fully free?  One of the principles of my coaching philosophy is “It’s impossible to make a mistake.”  This is often difficult for many folks to grasp.  We think about people we’ve wronged, bad decisions we’ve made, tests we’ve screwed up on.  The list is long.  But when you really get down to brass tacks and you think about those moments, you didn’t set out to “make” a mistake.  Typically, you did the best you could in that moment with the level of consciousness you had. Or maybe instead of shame it’s anger and resentment […]

    July 6, 2022

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    4.2 min read

  • Read What I did today instead of “Working”

    Mindfulness

    What I did today instead of “Working”

    Today I took a couple of calls, one with my IT guy regarding my new website we’re working on, and another with my coaching supervisor.  She recommended the book, True Yoga, and I decided a bit of spiritual enlightenment was in order. Put down the to do list I stopped what I was doing, put down my to do list and started reading the book.  As I read, I’m sitting out on my balcony, which overlooks a greenbelt here in Austin.  I’m hearing the gentle hum of my next-door neighbor’s air conditioner and it’s so soothing, I’m rocked in my chair like a baby.  My cats Bijoux and Beaux are lying at my feet, and the birds in the trees watch them ever so carefully.  They chirp their nervous warning chirps, and the kitties silently watch on.  I just heard a boat pass by on lake Austin, and even see a few patches of the blue lake through the copious leaves of the oak trees in the greenbelt. What do you notice? I notice the fig tree which we initially thought was dormant is in full swing, its fruit is ripening in the hot Texas sun.  I notice my breath, in and out, slow, and steady, and my body relaxing after the stresses of the week. I notice the wind on my skin, somehow cool and refreshing as I sit in the shade in the dirty white sundress I’ve donned, I feel the lightness of the material as it rests peacefully and lightly atop my tan skin.  I think about how I should wear white more often.  I notice the plants on my balcony are growing more than I wished them to.  And I marvel I didn’t notice it earlier. I hear a dog barking somewhere in the greenbelt.  I feel the beating of my heart in my chest.  I notice how beautiful the sunlight is as it streams through the treetops and warms and radiates energy in the plants in my yard, the flavor of my herbs: rosemary, oregano, sage, mint, basil, more pungent and sweet for its strong rays. I notice the pink ping pong ball shaped flowers of a plant I bought outside HEB the other day and hastily threw into a planter.  The bees dive gleefully and the butterflies swarm, attracted to its peppermint pink fauna. I feel the joy of resting peacefully in my body, as I read about the true meaning of yoga, the yoga sutras, the point that less is more.  The fact that the simple things in life are the things most worth experiencing.  The joy of boredom and the creativity it inspires if we just allow ourselves to rest blissfully in it.  The simple pleasure of sitting peacefully in this vessel of a body. resting in the sheer joy of being And so here I rest blissfully, in the sheer joy of being.  I write this blog post, quickly, carelessly, one word after another onto the page, not caring about the […]

    June 10, 2022

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    3.1 min read

  • Read What I’ve Learned Along the Coaching Highway

    Mindfulness

    What I’ve Learned Along the Coaching Highway

    Last week was international coaching week, I’m sure you had it marked on your calendar 🙂 The other day I had a conversation with my mentor coach, who asked me to think about what I’ve learned, since I started out.  I thought back to my younger self fresh off the coaching certification block and I came up with quite a list.  A key aspect of cultivating a growth mindset is to take a moment to reflect on everything you’ve accomplished, and congratulate your successes.  To sit and take stock of how far you’ve come is one of the most rewarding things a person can do.  It’s a shame most of the time we find ourselves just too busy to lean in.  I wanted to share my list with all of you, so here goes… I have learned what real friendship looks like.  I have learned that balance is a key component in any relationship worth having. I have learned there is no such thing as perfect.  Practice makes better. I have learned to question my motivation for why I do things.  Is it to grow and develop?  Or is it to look good? I have learned not to rely on male attention for a feeling of self-worth. I have learned that true assertiveness is not falling back into old reactive patterns but choosing how I want to respond. I have learned to rely on the power of God.  She is real.  She is always with me, especially at my darkest moments. I have learned to recognize my strategies for numbing my emotions.  And that to heal, I have to feel. I have learned that by doing this work, I am a better coach for my clients, and I can really show up for them. I have learned that sometimes I need to take space for myself, and that is okay. I have learned that transformation and change is possible. I have learned to ask myself what is it that I really want. I have learned to surrender and let God take control. I have learned that there will be darkness at times, and without darkness there can be no light. I have learned I can be motivated by new and exciting things that have nothing to do with money, power or prestige. I have learned to embrace my softness. I have learned what makes a good husband and a good wife. I have learned how to make my own choices. I have learned I don’t need flattery.  I’ll take it, but I don’t need it. I have learned to love my height, every bit of being a six foot one woman. I have learned to live more fully in my body.  I understand the importance of grounding in one’s body as a response to fear and trauma. I have learned the healing power of yoga. I have learned to stop name dropping.  Nobody ever cared except for me anyway. I learned I like the piano. I have learned that I […]

    May 26, 2022

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    3.8 min read

  • Read I Deleted Facebook Off My Phone And This Is What Happened…

    Mindfulness

    I Deleted Facebook Off My Phone And This Is What Happened…

    A few days ago, I decided to heed the age old adage of “practice what you preach” where it pertains to mindfulness and facebook.  Mobile phones are a topic I often discuss when facilitating programmes on Mindfulness, as they are often an unconscious culprit of mindlessness.  Don’t believe me?  Just think about how many folks you’ve noticed recently walking and tripping while trying to read their phone at the same time. I recently read an article on how quitting facebook can make a person happier, published by the happiness research institute.  You can find a link to it here by the way: Happiness Institute Study And while not ready to go completely full hog by deleting it off every device I own, I decided to start small and just delete it from my phone.  (I do have a business after all and social media is part of my marketing strategy.) I Deleted Facebook Off My Phone. Here is What Happened: 1) The number of times I check my phone per day drastically reduced.  I mean drastically — by 66% to be precise!  How do I know this?  The savvy mindfulness practitioner that I am I downloaded for free a few weeks back an app called “checky” that calculates the number of times I check my phone per day. I was absolutely gob smacked at the difference. The number of times I check my phone on an average day pre-deletion was 60.  Post deletion it was 20.  No longer am I pulling my phone out at stoplights to check the latest facebook news…my happy Austin, Texas motorists should feel much, much safer now. 2) My efficiency has gone up.  Which is a direct result of #1 because I’m checking facebook less often during the day which was often a time suck.  Just think about it, how many times have you pulled out your phone when you’re looking for a little distraction during a work day?  Now I’m actually challenged to find something to do if I feel bored, rather than hop on facebook. 3) And this is probably the most important point:  I feel much, much calmer.  More grounded, similar to the feeling I have after I’ve done 10-15 minutes of meditation in the morning.  I had no idea the amount of anxiety that facebook was actually causing me by looking at it frequent times during the day.  Facebook, our modern day equivalent of keeping up with the Jones, is taxing.  It’s a constant reminder that we need to be doing more, being more, posting more.  Otherwise, your business will fail, no one will know what you’re up to, your friends will all forget you, your life will end…yadda yadda yadda. The Facebook Phone Challenge: Be More Productive I challenge you to try it for just one week and let me know what you think.  Seriously, what do you have to lose? You could be more productive, more mindful, and more calm. What would you lose? Seeing the most popular memes of […]

    August 24, 2017

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    2.7 min read

  • Read Shelley’s Monthly Mindfulness Moment: How Multitasking Can Ruin Your Day at the Touch of a Button

    Mindfulness

    Shelley’s Monthly Mindfulness Moment: How Multitasking Can Ruin Your Day at the Touch of a Button

    Have you ever had one of those moments when you wished “If only I just hadn’t pushed that button?” It all started out innocently enough.  A colleague sent me an email to register for a new free referral database so we could trade referrals.  Good idea I thought, and clicked on the link.  I filled in my info and set up an account.  Easy peasy.  Then I saw a notice for a way to easily add contacts to the referral system through uploading a linkedin file.  It looked simple enough. It was right before lunch and I had an appointment to get to and time was running short.  My thoughts were occupied with the lunch meeting, what I was going to say to my potential client, which route I would take to get to the restaurant, what I would order when I got there.  I also had a number of things open on my desktop, emails that needed sending, tasks that still needed to be completed… Before I even realized what I had done, I saw a screen pop up that said “Invitation sent to 756 contacts.” Ummm, say what???  And then the realization:  I inadvertently emailed my entire linkedin contact list.  Every single person that I’m connected to.  EVERY single one.  (sorry if you’re one of my contacts who happens to be reading this…) What happened next was that horrible sinking feeling, you know, the one you get when you start to panic?  The one that’s normally accompanied by thoughts of “My god, I really am the biggest doofus ever!” or “What are people going to think of me???” It was these thoughts that occupied me as I ran down my stairs in a haze, late for my lunch meeting now.  I heard a very loud yelp as hit the bottom of the staircase.  In my haze I had failed to notice my cat Bijoux lying on the stairs and had inadvertently stepped on her paw.   After one emergency trip to the vet and $150 later Bijoux is now fine I’m glad to report. So what is the moral of this fun-filled story?  FOCUS ON ONE THING AT A TIME.  I know this.  I preach this as a Mindfulness trainer by the way.  I go to great lengths to aid my focus by turning off email notifications, closing outlook during meetings so I won’t look at emails or get distracted, I even recently took facebook off my phone.  But then again we all have moments where we don’t always practice what we preach.  These days with technology being as quick as it is, a lack of focus can have a very big impact with just one push of a button. When has a small lack of focus caused a big impact for you?  And what did you learn from the experience?

    February 24, 2016

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    2.4 min read