Every moment offers a chance to make a difference in some way. Actions, choices, thoughts and habits leave legacies. What lesson are you teaching? Take a moment to write about that in your journal today!
Posts Tagged ‘lessons’
I bet that title got your attention.
Perhaps you are quite shocked and wondering if I used to be a stripper in my early days. Sorry to disappoint you, but I am speaking in metaphors. By the way, if any of the guys out there were disappointed by that metaphor part – I’ll send you a little wink for even thinking this 53-year old gal still has it going on.
What I mean by naked is that I’ve been showing the world how imperfect and vulnerable I am lately. I gave not one, but three rather lame and embarrassing speaking performances in the past three days. In each situation, I was sharing new information with a new audience in a new venue. As much as I had prepared, when the performance arrived, things went horribly wrong. I forgot things, allowed nerves to get to me and used poor judgment. For someone who has been speaking for nearly 7 years, this should not be happening!
One thing I know for sure is that it usually takes at least 24 hours from the point of provocation for the “ah-ha” moment to emerge with the lesson I need to know. That moment came during a late afternoon run today. God must be a runner too.
What I realized is that I have been navigating new territory and taking risks in ways I never have before. It is as though I am beginning as a speaker all over again. I’m now delivering unique new topics from my book Energy Makeover. Among them the subject of “Awakening Your Creativity” and how creativity requires the duality of holding both love and fear simultaneously as risks are taken.
My new content is more authentic and dear to me than anything I’ve spoken about in the past. Revealing this material to new audiences shakes my confidence to the core. Reaching the audience means so much, and potential failure is so deeply personal.
Soon I find myself realizing the lessons learned in such a short time from my nakedness in public:
• Holding notes in your hand is a bad idea, especially if you don’t normally hold notes EVER.
• Make sure to pause and accept your applause at the end of a speech (I knew this – yet ran off anyway)
• Expect your time to be cut from what you practiced and have a plan B
• Let it go and move on rapidly when the microphone doesn’t work
• When choosing a demonstration volunteer – use intuition, not impulse!
• When condensing a 90 minute talk down to 20 minutes, it may take a few tries before the best version emerges.
• Remember it really is about serving and teaching from an authentic place.
As a perfectionist, it is very painful to admit I sucked. I am especially hard on myself and friends have already assured me that it wasn’t that bad. The fact is, I want it to be better and it will be better because I’ve already learned a few important lessons already. There will be gain from this pain.
God’s Gift of Grace
As I came home from my disappointing presentation yesterday and stepped out on my back patio, my eye happened to catch something that I now see as a Divine gift. Under the maple tree was a perfect white Anemone de Caen in full bloom – the same flower that adorns the cover of my book. These do not bloom in March! Curiously enough, the last time one of these bloomed was on July 18, the day I secured an agreement with Motivational Press, my publisher. I’ll take it as a sign that all this embarrassment is part of a bigger plan that I am certainly part of.
By the way – I will be getting lots more experience appearing naked in public for the entire month ahead. Check out a few of my upcoming shows on the events
Yesterday I received a very powerful reminder about fear that brought me to attention. After giving a luncheon seminar for the YWCA Leadership Series, one of the audience members came up to me and told me that we had met on June 21, 2010 at a Ladies Who Launch Meeting. I instantly remembered that night too. It was the longest day of the year and Susannah Goulder was the speaker. My long lost friend told me that she remembered how I stood up that night at Susannah’s urging and shared a big dream in front of about 50 witnesses. I had told the group that I was writing a book called Energy Makeover and that I envisioned myself being interviewed about the book on the NBC Today Show with Ann Curry. Boy that was courageous and outrageous! What was I thinking?
While I had long forgotten that moment at the LWL program, this kind woman had only a few moments ago learned that Energy Makeover had not only been published, but also had become an Amazon Best Seller. She was thrilled for me because she had been on this journey with me since June of 2010 and just had to speak up. My heart was warmed by this experience and I was also reminded of all the fear I had to overcome these past 2 years. Maybe I hadn’t been on the Today Show, but so many big dreams had come true.
What if I hadn’t faced my fear when…..
1. Being an author in Next Top Spiritual Author Contest required that I make and submit a video at a time when I did not think I had access to a video camera, tripod, editing software or a clue how edit or post something on YouTube. I learned what I needed to learn, released my need for perfection and did it anyway!
2. I had to ask every soul I knew to watch my imperfect video and vote for Energy Makeover on the Next Top Author Contest web site when I was embarrassed about being out there on YouTube and unfamiliar with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Social media in general. I learned to navigate social media, build my online network and get over my fear of being judged and criticized for revealing what I really look like and what I believe. I advanced to round 2 in that contest and more importantly created the foundation for future outreach and an online presence I never before imagined.
3. I didn’t advance to the final round in The Next Top Author Contest and felt I wasn’t good enough to be an author. I learned that I needed to hire a coach to get me motivated and inspired to get Energy Makeover completed. My coach, Ann McIndoo inspired me to share my unique message and taught me a great process anyone can use to write a book in 90 days in the midst of a busy life.
4. The Energy Makeover manuscript was finished and I realized that I could not let another soul edit or read it because I was afraid of judgment and criticism. I learned to shift out of the fear by seeking support. After scheduling a brief session with Coach Ann, I took her advice and on that same day hired a professional editor, rallied the help of 14 volunteer editors AND found a publisher. Later I was sensible enough to hire Peggy McColl to coach me on launching a book on Amazon and Holly Matson, a wonderful assistant to manage the book launch project.
5. I was flatly refused by many of the book launch partners I had hoped and assumed would be willing to help with the Energy Makeover Amazon launch. I learned, through my coach Peggy McColl, that I should forge ahead with the launch, keep asking and that it would all work out. That was the day I forgave myself for being such a control freak and decided to put it into God’s hands.
The existence of Energy Makeover and the events of this week would not have happened if I would have stopped at any of the “fear moments” mentioned above. It has always been my job to notice the fear, step into it and realize that fear simply brings forth an opportunity to learn and grow.
I must also admit that Energy Psychology and Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) have been part of my fear-busting arsenal at every step of this journey. When I find the intensity building, I now more quickly recognize it and begin clearing it.
While fear can be very isolating, I also know to connect to a higher power and the outside world for help and expertise when I feel like shutting down.
There is a fork in the road at each terrifying moment that gives you the choice to isolate or connect. Connection is the only answer. Where there is connection, there lies a happy ending.
Practice Time: Ask yourself each day if there is something you aren’t doing because you are afraid of judgment, criticism, or some other nasty outcome? Have the courage to examine what you are really afraid of, use a self-care process like EFT to soothe your feelings, take a moment to pray as you ask who might be out there as a resource for you. In every case of fear, there is a resource waiting to respond to your need. Your burden will become so much easier once you are aligned with the intention to move forward.
On September 4, 2011 I clearly realized that I was in the middle of an irrational fear response. Body shaking and brain scrambled, all evidence said I was safe, yet my body was telling me otherwise. Visibly shaking and tethered to a cable, I huddled against a tree trunk with 7 other nervous people as we were instructed on the process of zipping from one tree to the next. As I looked down to the ground below and realized we were probably at least 100 feet above the forest floor, it hit me that I have a real fear of heights. What had made me want to do this? Would I feel this way for the entire 3 hour canopy tour?
You all know that I lived to write this and have posted a photo on my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/betsy.muller) as evidence that I not only zipped, but eventually zipped gracefully with a big smile on my face. I will admit that the experience was a compelling lesson about the kind of irrational fear I often help others overcome during coaching sessions. The 5 main things I learned and share from this zip line experience include:
1. There is no denying a physical fear response
It’s incredible how the body forces you to be present to your fear. In my case, I felt my heart racing and my body visibly trembling. Deep breathing was only marginally helpful. I couldn’t quite tap my EFT points in the midst of holding on to my line. When I almost lost my shoe as I launched on my first zip, my fear rose to an even higher level. Irrational fear kept me from using my camera for the first hour. Eventually there was no other option but to admit I was really scared and to accept my trembling as fact. You can’t change what you don’t accept as real. While it was far from relaxing at this point, I knew I was on track to getting past this irrational feeling.
2. Having experienced guides with a sense of humor is priceless
The journey is much smoother when there is an experienced person along who can share tips, tricks, jokes and good information. The Hocking Hills Canopy Tour has some of the best guides on the planet. Our guides Jake and Andy were quick, casual, funny and yet very serious about safety. They gave great suggestions to help us relax and enjoy the ride. Coaches like me try to do the same thing as we guide our clients. As I realized this, my body was able to relax and be present to the natural beauty I’d really come to experience.
3. Incredible relief can be found through a good loud scream.
Screaming is fun and it lets those feel-good endorphins loose in the blood stream. I am a good screamer! What a great way to warn those people at the next tree that you are heading their direction too. It reminds us all that we need not keep everything bottled up inside. Expression in words or screams is part of the healing process.
4. It’s all about the scenery and sensations
This very real experience of gliding through the forest from a whole new perspective is one of awesome beauty. Every sense is heightened. There are scents, sounds, breezes, rock formations, flowing water, a rainbow of color and sparkles of light through the trees. As you see tiny people canoeing on the river below, you marvel at how rare it is for a human to have this tree-top perspective. Now, two days later, my aching body reminds me that this experienced called upon my upper arms as well as my abdominal muscles in new ways too. So many amazing memories are part of this initially fearful experience. How fun it was to share this new experience with my fearless husband George.
5. Overcoming a fear is exhilarating
Feeling fear and moving beyond it is an incredible thing. It is empowering and humbling at the same time. Taking that first step in spite of the fear is what moves you through. I would recommend this experience to anyone in need of a triumphant feeling and a new perspective.
I look forward to my next zip line experience and expect it might just be the Hocking Hills “SuperZip” – a head first superman flight available only to those with prior zip experience. Just one more reason I’m glad I zipped on Sunday.
Check out the Hocking Hills Canopy Tour at http://www.hockinghillscanopytours.com/home.html
Make it a romantic adventure: Stay at the lovely Glenlaurel Inn and make sure to reserve one of the lovely candlelight dinners. http://www.glenlaurel.com/
I was given a very vivid lesson on the topic of releasing last week that I feel compelled to share today. This lesson began when I hired Dawn Waldrop www.best-impressions.com, a professional image consultant to come to my home and evaluate the contents of my clothes closet. This process promised to eventually result in a specific plan for shopping to improve and update my professional speaking attire.
Before the visit I was apprehensive about letting another person peer into the dark recesses of my closet. I realized that my closet would be subjected to judgment and that many items would probably be rejected and released. Was I ready to let go of stuff she said must go? If I hadn’t been able to do it myself, could a professional really help release my grip on stuff that didn’t flatter me? Could I trust this woman to guide me?
As promised, the process in the closet took about 2 hours. In that short time, over half of the contents were removed, taken off hangers and placed in a pile for charity donation. At first the sheer quantity of this pile was quite painful. What if I need that some day? Does that really make me look frumpy? Dawn confirmed what my daughter had been telling me for years – many of my outfits looked “boxy” and I could use some more fitted styles to flatter my figure.
Yet somehow along the way I also began to see the beauty of what I was choosing to keep. The clothes that remained were the ones I loved, in my favorite colors and fabrics, and which make me look my very best. What took me so long to see this?
The process of purging with a professional resulted in release of 25 belts, 4 pairs of shoes, 10 dresses, 10 formal/bridesmaids dresses (why was I keeping these?), 10 skirts, 26 sweaters, 14 suits, 4 jackets and 15 blouses. Some of these items dated back to when I was in school. How could I have ignorantly let them take up all this space and energy in my closet? Just because I had room for them didn’t make it right.
The image consultant left me with a shopping list and a closet full of empty hangers – which was the best part. Now that I had made room in my closet, it was time to fill the gaps with the perfect new items. I was delighted to find some gorgeous bargains this weekend in rich fabrics and colors that fit me perfectly. I am enjoying the luxury of knowing less is really more as I deliberately choose my new wardrobe.
The metaphors of closet cleaning apply well to life changes too. Here are a few lessons I learned in the closet that may help you too.
Deep inside, you know the truth, but sometimes you have to pay somebody else to help you act on the truth.
When you let go of something that doesn’t work, you truly open the door to attracting something much better.
Bargains that don’t fit are not bargains
It is easier to find important things when the clutter has been removed
An open space has more room for the light
Donating to charity feels good
Old bridesmaid dresses will never come back in style
And to quote the words of Joan Crawford “NO WIRE HANGERS!”