Here is a simple description of how the Law of Attraction Works: when you pay attention to something, you are placing an order with the Universe, “More of this, please.” This is why it’s so important to be careful about what you measure. It’s a key component of practicing Passionate Self Care.
Want to have an easier commute? Start by paying attention to how many good drivers you encounter along the way. When was the last time you heard someone say, “I had such a great commute today. Everyone on the road was courteous and driving safely.” My guess is NEVER, that’s the last time you heard someone say that. What we hear about are the jerks on the road who were going way too fast or way too slow for our taste. If you measure for problems on your commute (or in any part of your life), that is precisely what you will get.
Wishing your boss was more ________ (fill in the blank)? The Law of Attraction applied here is powerful. Let’s say you want your boss to be more appreciative of the work you do. You’ve already figured out that the more you focus on how much s/he doesn’t appreciate you, the less appreciation you get. Hint: no one can give you what you won’t give yourself. You will always attract people into your life who agree with your opinion of your self worth. If you want others to appreciate you, you must start by appreciating yourself. What specifically have you done today that you’re proud of? Have you patted yourself on the back and said, “Good job”? Start measuring for what you do well and watch the change in how others treat you.
One of my favorite scenes in the movie What About Bob? was when Bob, played by Bill Murray overcomes his fear of sailing by having the crew tie him to the mast. He sees his psychiatrist on the shore and yells, “Look, Dr. Marvin. I’m sailing!”
Bob is not measuring what he’s not doing (standing on the deck of the boat of his own accord). He’s completely focused on what he has accomplished. He’s sailing! Bob is a good role model for us all.
We all have an Internal Guide who tells us at any moment what we are measuring. If you feel any kind of negative emotion whether it’s slight annoyance or all the way to complete rage, it is telling you that you are measuring for what you do not want. When you’re experiencing positive feelings, anything from calm to euphoria, your Internal Guide is telling you you’re measuring for what will make you happy. And it’s coming your way.
Write and tell me how a slight shift in what you’re measuring has or could make a big difference in your life. Change your focus; change your life!
This is the tenth installment in my series on Passionate Self Care. Go to http://silverspeaks.com/blogs/ for related articles.
Rituals are keys to Passionate Self Care. Let me give you an example, I feel wonderful when I take the time to perform the ritual of developing my action plan. I call it a ritual because it has a set pattern of components: (1) reviewing my in box, my list of action items and my emails; (2) deciding which I need or want to tackle today; (3) writing my plan; and (4) deciding which to do first.
After years of trying to find the right “formula” for this ritual, I stumbled on a relatively inexpensive online test for the Kolbe “A” Index (www.Kolbe.com). The Kolbe analyzes your natural work style. After reviewing my results, I came to understand that if I develop my plan at the beginning of the work day, I get bogged down in details and it kills my enthusiasm. Instead, I develop my plan the night before so I can dive into action the moment I start work. It’s amazing what a difference one adjustment to a ritual can make.
How many grouchy or distracted people have you heard say, “I’ll be okay after my first cup of coffee”? Admittedly, the caffeine helps but the ritual of coffee is every bit as much of an energy boost. It’s usually the skipping of the ritual that has thrown them off, not the lack of caffeine.
There are rituals we depend on and rituals we’d like to develop. To exercise Passionate Self Care in your life look for rituals you want to start incorporating until they become routine. Some of the best places to look for opportunities for ritual development are in the areas around which you feel guilty. A few of mine are:
Can you see the opportunities for rituals?
There are also rituals we love. We don’t feel guilty if we don’t do them but we feel SO MUCH BETTER when we do:
Rituals give life a certain continuity, which most of us crave. They make us feel more grounded. That’s why you see professional athletes who perform the same ritual every time they begin the game. Maybe it’s superstition, or maybe they know it works.
In a world where change is constant, rituals are a way for us to feel as if we are in control.
Rituals are very comforting and the more comfortable we are, the more we attract things that are a match to that feeling. I’ve noticed, for example, that when I take the time to perform the ritual of putting together my action plan, my work goes very smoothly. It can be no other way because I’m feeling good and in control. Events and circumstances that match those feelings are the only ones I will attract. That is how the Law of Attraction works: you get more of what you focus on.
So what rituals would you like to put into place in your life? What will make you more comfortable each day and give you more of a feeling of being in control? Start today, as soon as you finish reading this.
One of the biggest steps toward Passionate Self Care: Develop rituals that make you feel good, and practice them every day.
Because the Law of Attraction says, “You get more of what you focus on,” a critically important component of Passionate Self Care is focus. If you want to train yourself to recognize where your focus is, start by listening to conversations around you. What is the focus of each? Now look at the people holding those conversations. Are they a match to what they’re focused on?
Never is this so clear as when you listen to the elderly. Those who are having lengthy conversations about their aches and pains and pills and surgeries are the ones who are in the worst shape.
The ones who are talking about their gardens, pets, hobbies or grandchildren are vibrant and healthy. They may have aches and pains but they don’t dwell on them. Because of that, their aches and pains are manageable.
Sullen teens are obsessed with how unfair life is and how ridiculous adults and their rules are. Well-adjusted teens are focused on sports, music, school, or sharing cool new trends with each other.
What are you and your friends focused on? Start listening to your words – those that come out of your mouth or those you type into email messages and texts. Will the recipient of your words be happy to hear from you or inwardly groan?
We all agree that we don’t like to be around negative people but many of us who express that sentiment ARE the negative ones people don’t like to be around. And we don’t even know it. How can that be? How is it that we can be primarily focused on the negative and unaware of it? It’s because it’s become a socially accepted habit.
The news media consistently focuses on the worst events. When we broadcast our own personal news, we seem somehow embarrassed to share what’s going well in our lives. Doctors are trained to look for what’s wrong versus ways for us to stay healthy. Managers, until recently, have been trained to focus on employees’ weaknesses instead of their strengths.
There’s a new trend in management I would like you to steal for your Passionate Self Care. It’s called Appreciative Inquiry. An example of how it’s being applied will help clarify what it is:
The traditional style of conducting an employee’s performance review consists of 10-15 minutes focus on what an employee does well (employees refer to this as “buttering us up for the kill”), with the balance of the meeting focused on everything the employee needs to improve. In other words, the manager mainly focuses on what’s NOT working versus what IS.
A manager who practices Appreciative Inquiry would flip the time. She would spend 10-15 minutes focused on what an employee needs to improve and the rest of the meeting on everything the employee does well and how to leverage those skills. This manager focuses on what IS working instead of what’s NOT.
When I talk about this in my workshops, people get very excited, “Yes, that’s what my supervisor needs to do.” They stop in their tracks when I tell them it works both ways. “What do you mean?” they ask.
If you want your supervisor to focus on what you’re doing well, you must also focus on what you are doing well. You can’t expect to attract a supervisor (or a mate, friend, or child for that matter) who focuses on your good qualities if you are continually focused on your failings. Remember, you get what you focus on. That includes getting people in your life who agree with your self-assessment.
Appreciative Inquiry is the daily practice of looking for what you like about a person, place or thing (and that includes you). As you begin to focus on what you appreciate, you’ll begin to attract more of that into your life.
Appreciation is a feeling that can only attract good things to you. As you begin this practice of appreciating your friends, your community, your house, your children, your health, your family, and on and on and on, you will begin to feel more energetic and more vibrant. The Law of Attraction says it can be no other way.
I can’t think of anything more important to Passionate Self Care than using Appreciative Inquiry in all that you do. Try it. You’ll see.
This month begins a series of blogs focused on Passionate Self-Care. This phrase often brings a smile of embarrassment to faces because most of us consider ourselves failures in this arena.
Sure, we devote time to self-care but it is generally based on negative rewards instead of the positive actions that make up passionate self-care. In other words, instead of taking an exhilarating walk after dinner, we settle down to watch Wheel of Fortune, usually with some sort of high calorie drink or snack in hand.
What brings this to mind are the myriad news reports on the high cost of health care and the ensuing crisis for aging Baby Boomers. As I listen to this conversation with interest, I’ve realized that what I haven’t been hearing is much of anything about patient responsibility. Where does self-care fit into all this?
If you bought a house and did nothing to keep it up over a 5-year period, would you expect your insurance company to pay for repairs? They would deny such a claim saying it was neglect, not damage from an outside force such as fire or wind. Yet, we bring our sad, neglected bodies to our doctors or our sad, neglected psyches to psychologists and psychiatrists and expect them to give us a magic pill.
We want pills or surgery to fix what we systematically destroy through complacency.
Passionate self-care starts with the premise that you are at least as worthy of daily care as your house, your car, your children, your boss, or your clients.
Just as you would look at a messy house and say, “It’s time to clean this up,” it’s equally important to pay attention to an ache in your body and say, “It’s time to start taking care of this.” This requires a change in behavior and change requires conscious effort.
I’ve earned the right to talk about this because I spent the first part of my life going to doctors and therapists trying to get them to “fix” me. They helped, that is a fact, but I took no responsibility for having gotten that way in the first place. I sat in the dentist’s chair for example acting bewildered when told I had a cavity. The fact that I only brushed my teeth once a day and poorly at that seemed beside the point. Isn’t fluoride in the water supposed to prevent cavities? I chose to be a victim.
One of the more important things I’ve learned in my conscious effort to move from victim to victor is that, no matter what happens to me, I had a part in it and it’s important to take responsibility for whatever it was. Now, if I were in an earthquake, do I have a part in that? The surprising answer is “Yes” – I’m responsible for how I respond. I can be a victim or a victor and that’s the choice we each have in every situation.
Where are you currently behaving as a victim and how can you transform into a victor? Taking ownership for your life is very freeing and it’s an important component of self-care.
I don’t know about you but I’d really rather NOT be one of those old folks who goes to the doctor with muscles atrophied from lack of use saying, “I can’t understand why I’m so TIRED all the time. Can you give me something?”
We all have a small, active child inside of us who JUST WANTS US TO MOVE!!!! As you get more physically active, you will almost hear the child inside of you yelling, “Whoopee! We’re finally moving!!!” I’ve come to realize that most of my aches and pains, physical and mental, were sent by that impatient child, trying to get my attention!
Take five minutes, right now, and make a list of all the “upkeep” sorts of things you’ve done over the past month for: your car, your home, your clothing, your pets, your children, or other people. Now think what life would be like if you put yourself at the top of the list.
“That’s so selfish!” you might cry. And I say, “Yes, it is, and that is a good thing.” I don’t know when the concept of putting ourselves first got to be so negative. I suspect it was from people who wanted us to put them first so they taught us that self-care is bad.
When we practice passionate self-care, we accomplish several things:
The most important thing that happens when we practice passionate self-care is that we are happier and proud of ourselves. And the Law of Attraction says, “You attract what you are.” The happier you are and the more empowered you feel, the more situations that match those feelings come to you. And that is the ultimate in Passionate Self-Care.
Are you feeling like there is just too much to do?
Too much to learn?
Not enough time?
Join the club!
Lately, I have been keenly aware that the list of things that could, should or “it would be nice” to get done is expanding quicker than the blob grew in that horror movie of old. I realize that it’s time to get back to basics. It’s time to remember and then utilize what has worked in the past. And that always brings me back to the bottom-line principle called The Law of Attraction that tells us we get more of what we focus on.
Like many teachers, I’ve neglected to apply what I teach to my own life. How embarrassing.
So when you re-read the first two paragraphs, what does it tell you about where my focus has been? Exactly! I’ve focused on the problem and, here’s a shock, it’s getting worse! Where have you misused focus to add steroids to some of your own problems?
It’s such a habit this looking at the problem. And it is impossible to break a habit because, as you attempt to, where is your focus? What works well instead is to replace the habit that’s not serving you well with a new one that will.
So what is the fastest way out of overwhelm?
The answer is to develop the habit of celebrating what we’ve accomplished, even if we don’t think it’s nearly enough. As we celebrate the accomplishments of each day—even the seemingly trivial ones—the more accomplishments we attract. My negative focus threw me down the rabbit hole of “not enough.” As I begin to celebrate my accomplishments (and the first one is finishing and sending this blog), instead of spiraling downward, I begin to spiral upward and it’s a much more fun ride!
So I challenge you to take two minutes and write a list of everything you’ve accomplished today so far. Then stand up and do whatever your version is of “the touchdown dance.”
For the rest of the day, when you’ve accomplished something more, do something to celebrate even if it’s to say, “Yes!” and pump your arm for emphasis. Watch what a different day you’ll have.
Tell me how it goes. I’d love your feedback.
I’m off to do my touchdown dance!