New Beginnings

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.
— Joseph Campbell

In the US, we often associate new beginnings with the new year - January 1st. We make resolutions, we work on them, and some of us break them only to feel terrible about ourselves. No, this post is not about New Year’s resolutions. It’s about making new beginnings. We make new beginnings every day. Often multiple times a day.


Ever notice that for Nature to take on something new, it first sheds something old?  The Sun rises and creates a new day as night fades into dawn. Every season brings with it a new set of weather phenomena, replacing the old for another year. Spring breathes new life into plants and trees.  In Autumn, dead leaves and dry twigs are shed – and the trees are ready to welcome new leaves and branches. If we were to take on something new, do we stop to take stock of the situation, and figure out what we might need to get rid of to make room for it?

Our Current State

 Some of us often have packed days, full of activities, to-do lists, responsibilities, chores, tasks at work, and social obligations. We are constantly in the "doing" phase most of our waking moments. (See my previous blog post that talks about being vs. doing) We live as if there are more than 24 hours in a day and tend to live large, live to the fullest, and live beyond our means. In what ways? We overdo in so many departments - eat too much, work too much, party too much, surf the web too much - so much so that it eats into our sleep and then we sleep too little. Some of us oversleep on the weekends thinking we can make up for the lost hours. It doesn't quite work that way. We do need to get reasonable hours of good quality sleep every day, for our bodies and brains to function optimally.


Our brains can get overworked and may be unable to process and make sense of all the information that's being thrown at us every second of the day (and night). Life is more complex than ever. Work may not just be 9 to 5 anymore. Children don't just grow up on their own with minimal supervision anymore - there is an expectation (and perhaps need) of greater parental involvement in every little aspect of their childhood and growth. The omnipresence of social media means our social interactions have become more complex and at the same time, somehow less meaningful than they used to be. We mindlessly like posts, add hug and kiss emojis to texts messages, and say that we are LOLing without even so much as a hint of a smile on our faces. Our brains and minds can go into overdrive, and finally out of fatigue, just get numb to anything new or exciting.  Many of us end up just getting by in life, instead of thriving. We go through the motions without much joy and excitement.


Do you experience this? Do you feel like you can't add one more thing to your already overflowing plate? If so, here are some things you can try:


·       To take on or start something new, make space by getting rid of something old - old in this instance signifies anything that doesn't serve you anymore or in fact, might hinder your progress.  This includes both material and non-material clutter.

·       Fierce prioritization - In this seemingly limitless world, we still are not able to physically, mentally, intellectually, energetically, and time-wise, function in a limitless manner. Remember we took steps in March to prioritize in some other areas? You can apply those steps here too to figure out what truly matters and what truly deserves your time, energy, effort, and so on.

 Where do you start?

Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.”
— Herman Hesse

 Reflection: Sometimes it seems like there are just too many things to deal with, or the priorities are competing and difficult to cull. Here is an exercise with a set of questions to help you reflect and act on it. Some questions may or may not apply to you or your life. If not, simply file them away for possible later use.


·       Take stock of the situation - What do I really want? What do I want to achieve?
Have more time in the day to relax or do fun things or spend time with your family? Have more money to be able to go out with friends, save for retirement, travel the world? Have energy left to do something meaningful for yourself like, say, learning a new skill by reducing the number of tasks, chores, work-related extra activities that you take home every night?

When we know our “why”, it might be easier to make changes, stay the course, make the difficult right decisions.
— Simon Sinek

·       Why do I want this?
As we have learned in the previous blog posts, if we know the "why" behind certain decisions or actions, then we are more likely to stick to them and/or be on board than if they were made for us (our parents, spouse, boss, etc.)

·       Even harder to figure out is what do I really need?
Can you be honest with yourself and find out what it is that you need the most at this time? Sometimes what we want ("CAKE!!") and what we need (healthy eating to lose excess weight or fight diabetes) are two different things. So ask this question another way: What's going to be in my best interest?

·       What's in the way?
- Friends? Especially those that expect you to go to a movie without considering your schedule.

- Coworkers? Especially those who bring donuts (or cupcakes or pastries) and potentially derail you from your healthy eating lifestyle?

- Bad habits? Thoughts? Dreams? Wishes? Behaviors?

- Apathy? Being overwhelmed?

- Material possessions? - A thousand clothes and yet, nothing to wear?

·       What's at dissonance?
What's not working? What's leaving you mentally exhausted, unfulfilled, unsatisfied with your life in general and with this situation in particular - time, money, energy, etc.?

·       What must go?
Sometimes it is as easy as "This is not working, therefore, this must go" and that's the end of the story. Sometimes, it's not so black and white - you still have to work on those extra tasks and bring them home every night, or spend money on certain things like high speed internet if you are working from home part of the time. So the answer to this question can come from answering or listing what's extraneous and can afford to go.

·       When it leaves, how will I feel?
Joy, sorrow, anxiety, emptiness, fear of the unknown? Both animate and inanimate objects have a tendency to attract us and we get attached to them. Are there people in your life who consistently suck out your positive energy when you are trying to keep your chin up?  Or friends who always seem to be making plans and dragging you along even if you had committed to piano practice that evening?  Or do you always seem to spend money on the “wrong things”, like going to expensive restaurants when you are trying to save money for an emergency fund?

·       Why do I care?
Being aware of how we might feel in losing our possessions will prepare us to deal with the feelings - hopefully, temporarily. This will also save you from sliding into regret, or later adding that possession back into ownership and stalling the process.

·       When will I do this?
Commit to a date on your calendar to doing this exercise and the act of letting go. No time like the present. Schedule it!



·       Letting go of anything is not an easy task. By no means am I minimizing the pain or sorrow you'd feel of losing that which you are attached to. Try these two concepts from Marie Kondo's book about tidying up: When you are going through your list of what you want to keep and what must go, ask yourself, "Does this bring me joy?" If the answer is yes, keep it. If the answer is no, let go. Then, thank your old possessions for serving you and for having been useful, taking care of you, etc. before you let go of them.

This technique works for feelings or non-physical things as well. For example, while letting go of a fear, ask yourself: Does this still serve me and/or protect me? If it doesn’t, thank that fear for having protected you up until now. If you are mourning a death or loss, you might ask yourself: Who is it helping for you to hold on to this feeling? If it doesn’t help you, you might think of honoring the departed with an internal ceremony or celebration, and moving on.


·       Another book that comes to mind is Managing Transitions by William Bridges. He defines change as something external to us, something physical, an event - for example, the day the baby was born, an acquisition of a company, date the divorce was finalized, the day grandma died, etc. Often, we don’t have control over these events. On the other hand, transition is something that happens internal to us and typically starts with an ending - the new parents don't have the freedom to party all night long anymore, the company ceases to be its own entity, the marriage is dissolved and is not an institution or a relationship anymore, grandma is not around anymore, etc. Even though the date of the event is decided, how we react to it and accept or come to terms with the new beginning or new reality depends on each of us. Some of us might take to the new reality quickly, and others might need weeks or months or even years to recover from the change. When we understand and accept that transitions are internal, it helps us to take them in stride.


Success Check: How do you know you nailed it? This one's easy! Well, relatively. If it's material possessions that you got rid of, you will have more space or your place will look tidy and neat and clean; if it's activities, then more time; if expenses, then more money; and if extra work, chores or activities then more energy. You get the gist. If it is non-material possessions or feelings you were dealing with, you might feel lighter because you won’t have sorrow or negativity weighing you down and you might feel hopeful because you have let go of your fear.


So what do you have more of now as a result?


Challenge: We need to keep doing this activity periodically to make sure old thinking patterns don’t resurface and to address new undesirable thinking patterns. You may see incremental results over time, or you may have a breakthrough and see results all at once. To help you stay on track, ask yourself:

·       How can I make this reflection process a regular occurrence? A habit?

·       How often will I undertake this exercise? Schedule it!


Share in comments below:

·       What are you letting go?

·       What are you making space for? With?

·       How often will you check?

·       What tool/s is/are your favorite? What else do you use or practice?


Sneak Peek: Next week, we will look into another aspect of new beginnings - the new beginnings that go dead or disappear even before they start. Curious what this is about? Come back here next week!

New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.
— Lao Tzu

March Madness - Zooming In

To find yourself, think for yourself.
— Socrates

 This month, we have been working on finding your passion and ways to achieve your ultimate goal related to that passion. First, we identified what it is that you are passionate about. Then last week, we looked at all the behaviors, habits, and skills that can help us or hinder us in realizing our passion.  If you are just joining us, this post will give you the context behind what we are trying to do here and this will show you what we did last week.


This week, we will zoom in and narrow down our behaviors, skills, or habits to just one or two that are best suited to help us. Then, we will put an action plan together for you to practice and get better at it every day, so that you eventually achieve your ultimate goal. Are you ready? I am!


Part II: Zoom In


Now that you have a collection of a wide variety of behaviors, habits, and skills, it's time to zoom in and figure out what would have the best, most profound impact on the progress you wish to make. Consistently following a path to your North Star - your ultimate goal - despite whatever may come in your way, usually requires characteristics like discipline, grit, and determination. If people around you are not supportive of your efforts and dreams, you will need courage to go against the grain and stay the course.  For example, if you dream of one day holding an exhibition of your paintings, you may want to make painting a habit by making time, creating the environment (perhaps a little studio in your house or a corner of a house), and improving or enhancing your skills. If you dream of being healthy and free of excess weight, you may want to build a habit of eating healthy - not once or twice a week but every day, and moving or working out every day.  In short, you want to build habits that will take you to your ultimate goal. Your task at this step is to identify one or two (or three!) things that will make a measurable difference over time. It doesn't have to be big and dramatic or glamorous. Just something that will make it easy for you to follow through and see results. Remember, we are exploring and figuring out on our own. There can be misjudgments and mistakes. If at a later point in time, you realize that what you’re doing isn’t giving you the results you want, you can go through this exercise again. While achieving that climb to the mountain top is important, this journey of self-discovery that you are on is equally if not more important.


So now coming back to our task at hand, from the broad spectrum, zooming in, ask yourself any one or all of the following questions:

·       What ONE behavior am I willing to change in my life or add to my life?

·       What ONE habit am I willing to change or add?

·       What ONE skill do I need to make progress?


If you are not already, you will soon be a master of fiercely prioritizing with these exercises. Hard to choose just one? Use the steps from the Week 3 “Zooming Out” post to narrow down and rank the topmost.


To help you decide on which characteristics to choose, ask yourself:

·       Why is this of paramount importance?

·       What would doing this make possible for me?

·       Am I challenging myself to go out of my comfort zone?


Test Drive: Now that you have one (each?) of the behavior, habit, and/or skill, it's time to test drive it. Start with one – the behavior, the habit, or the skill that is most meaningful for you – and put it into practice. Feeling ambitious? Try putting all of your selections into practice. And I would encourage and invite you to customize these blog posts to suit your motivation, enthusiasm, available time, and energy level. I would not want to drag you down if you are running 100 miles per hour and by a similar token, I would not want to rush you if you want to take your time with reflections, thinking through all possible aspects - stopping and smelling the roses, so to speak.


Last mile: WOW! Have you seen how far you have come? Kudos to you for sticking through this sometimes long and arduous process! Now it's time to make it crisp and clear. This one last step is like the last mile in a marathon. We just need to pull through to win - in our case, coming up with a winning strategy. This step makes sure you have all the important points about your thought process in one place. Of course, there are a lot of questions in this list. Some of them may apply to you, some won't. So again, customize it to your situation and file away anything you don’t use today for later use on other projects. Below I’ve listed the questions, along with a brief comment or two indicating what I’d like you to uncover with each of your answers:


·       What do I foresee as challenges? - From the analysis step, what have I seen in the past or what am I susceptible to? What could stop or hinder my progress? What is holding me back, if anything?

·       What would make it easy for me to commit? - Maybe create baby steps? Maybe break down my passion goal into smaller bite-sized goals? Maybe quit something cold turkey? Maybe have an accountability partner?

Doing vs. Being - In coaching, we consider both these aspects - "doing" and "being". Some of us are experts at doing - we take action, we proactively keep working on things, sometimes going above and beyond. But we often don't pause to consider: what am I being in all this? Am I being stressed out? Am I being overly cautious? Am I being a good employee, mom, dad? Am I being a good citizen? There are times when life demands more doing from us and we need to be doing, and there are times, when we need some being. These two may not always be in balance but we want to be aware of them all the same. 

·      What am I "doing"? - what are the action items I am proposing I add to my list? What actions am I taking? Am I learning, practicing, creating, removing, adding, building, talking, presenting, writing, making, planning?

·       What am I "being"? – Am I stressing out, enjoying, taking it in my stride? What kind of a person do I need to become? Do I need to be more disciplined, creative, consistent, patient, compassionate, ambitious, funny, silly, thoughtful, mindful, considerate?

·       What's Plan B? - How am I going to handle my weaker moments? -  I know, I know, some of you might be thinking, really, you are talking about Plan B? Don't you want us to believe in the plans we’ve worked hard on so far?  I do, and I wish for you that you never waver from your chosen path. But things happen, and I want us to be absolutely prepared for any contingencies. When I was in the military, I was expected to always have a Plan B. I had to be prepared to handle any situation. They taught us that when we were prepared 100% on the ground, we would recall at least 60-70% of emergency handling procedures when we were flying. Emergency situations stress us out, and can take a toll on our rational logical thinking. But when our brains are trained to know what to do in certain situations, they will pull out that checklist and start working without much effort. That's the preparedness you want as you get ready to put all this together into an action plan. So thinking about this is not going weaken your resolve, it is only going to fortify and support it.

·       Ownership - Above all, you have to own this process, the journey, the passion, and the responsibility 100%. Nobody is making you do this, nobody gave you those dreams. If they did, check back with yourself that those are indeed your dreams. And if that is not what you want to do for the rest of your life, then, this is a good time to rethink and revise and re-strategize.


Additional Tips for:

·       Behavior change - For some people, quitting cold turkey seems to work. For some, making small changes over a period of time. Whatever is your way, you want to start getting to know yourself better and see what works best for you. Sometimes, going completely away from what works for you and doing the opposite works. Because your norm hasn't quite worked to make a lasting change, it might make sense to challenge the status quo and try something different to jog yourself out of the inertia.

·       Habit building (Habit tracker) - When you are trying to change a habit or acquiring a new one, research shows that it takes at least 21 days to make that activity into a habit. The idea is to keep doing something even if you don't feel like at that moment. Some days and especially the initial few days, you will be motivated with newfound enthusiasm. It's the days when you don't feel like getting out of bed, or sticking to your guns is where tools like habit trackers come in handy. Now don't make that a big chore - tracking habits in itself is a habit. Keep it as simple as possible - but a visual representation of how you are sticking to your plan is a great boost to your motivation. James Clear says in his book Atomic Habits, (and I am paraphrasing here) to build a habit, don't miss it two times in a row. Get back on track after you have one mishap. Sliding one time is not as bad as is sliding day after day, and then one day you find yourself so far away from what you wanted that you have to start all over again. His book is a very useful resource and a quick read or listen. Here are some other books that you might find useful as you build lasting habits.

·       Skill (Practice, break down into smaller steps) - Another trick for adding a new skill is to practice regularly. Maybe breaking the overall skill into smaller steps might make sense. Learning to play the guitar? Rather than worrying about chord progression right out of the gate, learning just one chord at a time might help. Next, chord progressions with easy transitions might give you confidence to go on to more complex ones. Want to write a book? First, writing an outline based on your initial idea and then maybe a list of chapters and then filling out the content and so on, may be the way to go. Sometimes just starting to write a blog or a journal to get you in the habit of writing might help. 

I was once afraid of people saying “Who does she think she is? Now I have the courage to stand and say, “This is who I am.
— Oprah Winfrey

Success Check: You know the drill. Here’s how you will know if you have a water-tight action plan. Your action plan will be simple yet specific. Please fill out this paragraph:


"I am passionate about ……… (your passion). It is of the utmost importance to me in my life because…………(significance). I will live a fulfilled life authentic to who I am when …………. (vision). I wish to achieve this by ……………… (date) or in ……………... (days/weeks/months/years). For that to happen, I commit to …………... (specific action – changing/adding behavior, habit, skill) …………. (frequency -every day/three times a week, etc.). I will know I have achieved my ultimate goal when ………………… (condition – enhanced ability – I do 100 pushups in one minute, can read music, can publish articles or blog posts, etc.; mastery – I can play any song on the guitar, can write riveting short stories or novels, etc.)."


Share: In the comments below, tell me what worked or didn’t work for you, what you found most challenging, and more importantly, the results of your efforts.  If you were successful, please share!  If you were not successful initially, what did you change or do differently? I am rooting for you and want to hear how you are applying this in your life.


Go on! I am cheering you on from the sidelines!


March Madness - Zooming Out

Find out who you are and do it on purpose. 
— Dolly Parton

Last week, you filled out this sentence:


"I am passionate about ……… It is of the utmost importance to me in my life because…………I will live a fulfilled life authentic to who I am when …………."


Or, maybe this sentence resonated more with you:


"I want to focus on ……. It is of the utmost importance to me at this point in my life because ……….When I incorporate this in my life I will be able to……….."


You are pumped that you have finally zeroed in on that one thing you are passionate about. Now what? 

Illuminate the path with the light of your thought.
— Supriya Gurjar Troup

 Now comes a two-part process of first "zooming out" - exploring what behaviors we may have that can help us (or hurt us) in realizing our passion (or ultimate goal for March, from last week's blog); and second, "zooming in" - narrowing down our behaviors to just one or two that are best suited to help us. For some of us, this will be a straightforward process - we may have a good grasp already of how we've been behaving, and what behaviors we need to adopt (or change) going forward. If so, great!   But for most of us, this will require a lot of time and effort and self-analysis. That's why we are going to divide the work into two parts.  So, here is our goal for this week.


Our Goal this week To explore behaviors/habits/skills that will help you to make your ultimate goal a reality - and also, to identify behaviors/habits/skills that may be preventing you from reaching this ultimate goal


Let's get started!

It’s life that matters, nothing but life—the process of discovering, the everlasting and perpetual process, not the discovery itself, at all.
— Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Idiot
By Fyodor Dostoevsky

 Part I: Zoom Out - Exploring Our Behaviors, Habits, and Skills


How beautifully symbolic that I am writing this looking at the vast Pacific Ocean. The waves are crashing and the blue-gray spreads to the horizon as the water and the sky become one. The Sun hasn't risen yet. There's anticipation, there's hope, there's excitement in Nature - you can almost hear it in the energy. The ocean means a lot of things to me - it's where I feel at home, it calms me, it's vastness puts everything in perspective for me - I am a small speck in a large universe and my worries and concerns are proportionately small. The limitlessness of it makes me think of possibilities, and literally broadens my horizon.


 So now, if you find that perspective helpful, use it to help you step back and take a broad view.  Ask yourself, "In order for me to make progress toward reaching my goal:"

  • What behaviors do I need?

  • What habits do I need to create/change?

  • What skills do I need to build or hone?

 You might find it helpful to make 3 columns on a piece of paper, and list behaviors in the first column, habits in the second, and skills in the third. Or if you think you have a lot to write down, you may want to note these on separate pages. Just like the brainstorming step in our previous blog post, go crazy! Don't limit yourself at this stage. 


At this point, I'd like to throw out a general warning.  NOT that any of you would do this!   But... please remember when listing your skills and behaviors that it's important to be honest.  You know yourself best, and you know whether the behaviors, habits, and skills you've listed are true and accurate.  If you aren't honest during this step of the process, it will be difficult to achieve your goals in the end.


After you have a good solid list, try to think of which behaviors, habits, or even skills you may have that might be preventing you from making progress toward your ultimate goal for this month.  You might ask, "How can a skill be keeping me from making progress?"  Let's say your job requires you to think on your feet, and over time you've developed the ability to adapt quickly to any situation.  This skill, while valuable on the job, might make it difficult for you to keep to a schedule, or even to create a schedule in the first place.  If you find you need a strict schedule to realize your ultimate goal, the "adaptability" skill may be getting in the way.  You would then want to create behaviors or habits at home that will help you keep to a schedule, leaving you free to continue to use the skill in the workplace.  To help identify possible areas for change, you can ask yourself:

  • What are some things that might be preventing me from taking action and making progress?

  • What am I tolerating?

  • What am I afraid of?

  • What am I not letting go of?


You can write your answers to these questions on a new page.  Being able to identify things that have prevented you from realizing your dreams is an important first step in overcoming them and allowing you to reach your ultimate goal.  But this kind of analysis can be difficult.  It can be easy to blame yourself for "letting things get in the way" and not already being where you want to be.  If you're feeling like this, it's important to remember to look at the big picture.  When viewing the situation in that perspective, an isolated view can be misleading. For example, if you are a single mother trying to raise children, putting food on the table, giving your children the  best education you can, your dreams may have taken a back seat during more stressful times. Berating yourself for that would not be a fair and just act. On the flip side, you might not look in depth at the problem and might miss important insights into how you work, behave, what makes you tick, what pushes your buttons, and many such details. Striking a balance when analyzing your own situation is both a practice and an art. The more you do it, the better you will get at it.


Need some inspiration?  It may be that some research will prove useful here.

  • Talk to people you know and trust who may have undertaken tasks similar to yours. What skills did they add? What behaviors did they change?

  • Read up on people you admire. Who are your role models? What do you admire the most about them? What was their situation? What did they do about it? How did they overcome challenges?

  • No role models? No problem. Search the web. There is a lot of information at our fingertips. Look up, read, but don't get lost in the web and end up reading about, say, 100 varieties of apples. Keep your exploration focused. While being in this mode of curiosity, it's easy to get lost and end up with not much in the way of useful information for the topic at hand.


Success Check: You now have a comprehensive list of all the behaviors/habits/skills that will take you closer on your path towards your ultimate goal. You should have discovered a lot about yourself in the process. You should also have a list of things that may have come in the way of your goals in the past, such as fears, things you've held onto, or situations you may have tolerated. Great job!

Share in comments below: What was easy about this exercise? What was really difficult? What stood out as some behaviors/habits/skills that you’d need to achieve your ultimate goal?


 Sneak Peek: I have hinted above but next week, we are going to zoom in and focus on ONE of these behavior/habit/skill that will make the most impact for you. We will put an action plan together so you can apply all that you are learning and acquiring here in your real world. See you next week!

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.
— Bertrand Russell 

March Madness!

There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. 
— Nelson Mandela

Wait, what? Are we talking basketball now? For my global tribe, March Madness in the US refers to the time of the annual NCAA college basketball tournament that generally runs throughout the month of March. Fans and followers go crazy with all the fervor associated with it. The word madness can mean different things to different people and at different times, but this month I am equating it to passion. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines passion as a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept or also as intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction. Passion applies to an emotion that is deeply stirring or ungovernable. Its synonyms, enthusiasm and zeal, mean intense emotion compelling action. Enthusiasm applies to lively or eager interest in or admiration for a proposal, cause, or activity.  Zeal implies energetic and unflagging pursuit of an aim or devotion to a cause. 


What does this mean to us? Just like the word and its synonyms, not only are we going to look at what we are deeply passionate about, but also create a compelling action plan to take us closer to achieving our heart's desire. 


 This week we are going to focus on finding what it is that you are truly passionate about, what it is that you have been longing to do - possibly all your life - to improve your life, to live every day as the best version of yourself, to continue to grow and blossom and make this life so much more worth living.  In other words, thriving. Perhaps it's a calling you have been ignoring. Perhaps it's that nagging feeling at the back of your mind that you have tried to squash, but it rears its head every now and then. It just cannot be squashed. And sometimes it is something that we are passionately angry about. It moves us to change something about our life or this world, and make it right, and stop accepting or tolerating. The force of this passion is so great that movements and revolutions and new laws have come out of it.


For some, it might be a career change - to become a musician or become a teacher or enter the high-tech world, or take on a leadership role. For others it might be of paramount importance to get some things in their lives in order before they can even begin to think of pursuing their passion - things like managing chaos and stress, organizing the house, decluttering, improving relationships, or parenting with care and love, to name a few. Whatever it is that is front and center to you, you feel it or you miss it and you want to have it. So, what are we going to do about it?


Sometimes taking on a task like this can be overwhelming. So, we are going to break it down into smaller goals. Each week, we will focus on one aspect of achieving that monthly goal so that by the end of the month, we will have made progress - small or large - towards designing the life of your dreams. I will make it as simple and as achievable as possible. What I need from you is the commitment to follow along and see it through. I understand that life happens, and that there will be other priorities.  Whenever possible and practical, I'd like you to try to make yourself and your efforts here a priority - not doing so is the last regret I'd want you to have!  So, are you ready? Great! Let's get going!

Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you. 
— Oprah Winfrey

 Our Goal This Week To identify your passion and determine why it is important to you.

 You may have identified your passion and see it as an achievable goal. Or you may say, "I know what I am passionate about. I have dreamed of this stuff all my life. But it's not practical for me to do it now." Say, for example, you have always wanted to be an astronaut. But for whatever reason, you think you won't be able to do it. Money may be an issue - there are bills to pay and kids to send off to college so you have that to worry about. Or there may simply be no opportunity - NASA only recently sought applications for their astronaut program and is not currently seeking new candidates. Instead of completely giving up on your dream, can you do something related to it that will spark the same joy and excitement for you, thus improving your life for the better? For example, if money weren't an issue, what if you were to look into a civilian program like Virgin Galactic's, or the Space X program? Or maybe you could look for a position at NASA, and be that much closer to all things space? Will that be something worth pursuing?


Regardless of where you are on your journey, these are the steps we'll take this week:

 1.       Brainstorm ideas - Let it be a timed activity. Set a timer for 5 to 8 minutes. Think of all - I mean ALL - the different areas you are or have always been curious about, interested in, or thinking of.

o   Go crazy! Really. Think of things as diverse as possible - you have wanted to pursue but didn't or couldn't because of other priorities. Also don't think of the quality, relevance, or vagueness of it. You can deal with the details in steps 2 and 3. For now, you want to generate as many ideas as you can - we'll narrow them down to the top 3-5 later.

o   Go to your childhood memories "I am going to become a pilot when I grow up", "I want to teach when I grow up", "I want to save the world!"

o   Ask your friends, family, coworkers - anyone who knows you well enough to be able to tell you what they have observed about you, what they know of you, or what they know you for - "You are so good at connecting people", "You have an angel's voice! It'd be a crime if you didn't become a singer", "You write so well", "You are an amazing storyteller."

2.       Rank them - 1 being what you would want to do or be the most, and so on. Use these questions to help you clarify where each idea stands.

o   If I achieved my dream, what would change? And how would that change my life?

o   Who would benefit if I acted on it?

o   What am I willing to give up, if anything, to achieve this?

o   What if I did nothing about it? What would happen? How would I feel?

o   What if I were to let go of this dream and never think about it again? Will I be able to make peace with it? Why? Why not?

3.      Identify your passion - Now look at the top 3-5 ideas.  Which topped the list?

o   Just for a moment, place each of your other shortlisted ideas in turn at the top of the list. Did anything change?

o   What's the top-ranked idea?

o   Why does it matter so much over the other ideas?

Tip - Still not sure what matters most to you? Need help truly identifying what you value the most? I'd be happy to coach you to do deeper transformational work. Contact me.


Success Check Point: How will you know you have done it? Fill out the sentence that resonates the most with you and your situation:


"I am passionate about ……… It is of the utmost importance to me in my life because…………I will live a fulfilled life authentic to who I am when …………."


"I want to focus on ……. It is of the utmost importance to me at this point in my life because ……….When I incorporate this in my life I will be able to……….."


You've done it! Great! Just as a recommendation: you want to complete this exercise in the first 3-4 days of the week so that you give yourself time to try it on for size, to see how you feel about it, sleep on it, and see if anything changes in the next couple of days. The idea is to keep yourself on track and be prepared for next week's activity. You may also share it with your trusted advisors or personal board of directors - your friends and family. After a couple of days, if nothing changes, you've got yourself something you are passionate about that has the potential to improve your life in ways unimaginable!


Sneak Peek: Next week, we will work on exploring what you will need to have in your toolbox, such as skills and good habits, to get you closer to your goal. Excited? I am!