Can You Fall in Love with Yourself?

3 Ways to See Yourself Differently

This is not a narcissist manifesto. If it was, the topic would be 3 Ways to Make Other People Compliment You More on your Sculpted Body or Finding 10 Ways to Make Yourself Even More Appealing on Social Media (if that is even possible). Thankfully, this is not. This post is about looking at yourself in a different light. A positive light.

For many of us it is very difficult to feel the love from, and for, ourselves. We are often quick to criticize ourselves and very slow in acknowledging what we do well. Looking at ourselves in a positive light can be very difficult. Here are three ways to see yourself differently.

First, pull out your resume and show it to an impartial friend or colleague.

Focus on your accomplishments, degrees, years of service, writing, creating, and any other awesome skills you have. These are things that you have learned, cultivated, and refined. These are your traits and you should cherish them. (And absolutely don’t waste your time on what you haven’t accomplished yet!) We can all whip out a list of things we’ve never done but are certain we want to. Stay with what you’ve done and not what you haven’t.

Second, find something that you wrote, created, or accomplished at any point in your life which shows your flexibility and creativity.

This could be an article you wrote, poetry, a story, photography, artistic creation, a class you took, martial arts, music expression, or a journal you have written for years. Congratulate yourself for finding an expressive side that shows passion and creativity.

Third, start (or continue) that dream or goal that you have put off to the side.

Don’t let it slide by. Whether or not you are successful in starting up whatever it is that you want to do, it will never happen unless you take action. The things that you have listed above show that you are creative, thoughtful, and motivated when you are committed. Go forward without regrets or apologies! The only way that you will liberate yourself from the shouldn’t or can’t is to go forward and see how far you can get. This only happens if you take a step.

What step(s) will you take?

Originally posted for JRNI on Medium April 2018

Don’t Forget About You

Unleashing Positive Momentum

I originally called this piece, “At Least I Have Me”. I started off in a sarcastic voice and was focusing on the negative. I say this because it often starts that way. We feel down, and it is so easy to go down the massive drop like on a rollercoaster except that when we hit the bottom of the rollercoaster drop there is usually another shot up a high bank that allows you to gain momentum for the next drop. But life is not rollercoaster. Sometimes, when we go down we stay down for a while. This is why it is important to find that next hill that gives you momentum.

Let’s call this piece Don’t Forget About You.It’s kind of like the song in the movie The Breakfast Club. Let’s not forget about the you that is energetic, evolving, believing (or wanting to believe), and hopeful. This is our starting point. Every moment we have the opportunity to make a commitment to do something. We start off with energy, hope, and enthusiasm. What happens next is dictated by our own determination and boundaries. This is where we find a new path. It doesn’t always need to be a complete restructuring.

Often times we are on the right track but we overestimate or underestimate the amount of time that is needed for certain things to happen. Things happen in the time that they happen. The one thing that is true is that we will often get signs that let us know whether or not we are likely to get what we want (whether we accept that message is up to each individual).

This is where we have to search our memories and trust that we have done awesome things in our lives and have overcome obstacles. We tend to forget the paper we wrote that was stunning, putting together a presentation that blew people away, or the time our coworkers marveled at how professional and thorough we were when a deadline came and we hit it on time. Those are the experiences in life in which we have to remember that we triumphed. Yes, we were nervous and there was fear, but we were bold, innovative, and daring in spite of it. That energy and creativity is in us now.

Don’t let the negative voices stop you before you start. Just break out your inner GPS and let your inspiration take you where you need to go. Remember, unleashing positive momentum is an amazing thing. You are an amazing person. This is you. Show who you are.

Originally published in May 2018 for JRNI on Medium

You Must Create Your Own Opportunities

Take a chance on yourself

What goes around comes around. How many times have you heard this? It is inevitable, or so it would seem. I do believe that things do come around in life, but it doesn’t always look the same. So many times, we are hoping for that opportunity that we missed or were afraid to take, but unfortunately, it does not look same when it comes around. Just like we change in our lives, opportunities also change in terms of where they pop up or how they look. We hem and haw about things because we are afraid that this isn’t the opportunity we were hoping for. Or we spend our time hoping that something more familiar will come by. Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy.

Opportunities are just that, opportunities. We shape the opportunity into what we want it to be, but only if you go after it and work on it. How many times have we said, “This is the perfect opportunity for me.”? We are excited and we tick off the reasons why it is the perfect opportunity. It is exciting and uplifting! But how many times do we also find that it isn’t what we thought it would be? It was more work than we imagined, or the situation wasn’t as perfect for us as we thought. The opportunity no longer looks like something great and we might decide to let it go or look for something else. There is nothing wrong with that unless we do that with most of the things in our lives because then we will never get anywhere.

We’ve done this before. Chances are we will do it again. The question to be answered is how many opportunities are we going to let go because they weren’t perfect? Is it a job we could have had? A person that we might have wanted to date? An activity that we wanted to try but were afraid? These are opportunities that are in front of us all the time. When will we try them? These opportunities are not out there somewhere. These opportunities are before you and I. It is just a question of which ones we are going to pursue. Time continues to flow and opportunities pass us by. Maybe it is time to create some new opportunities for us. It might not be exactly what we want right now, but it can lead us to somewhere we have never been.

Let’s take a chance!

Originally published on Medium for JRNI August 2018

4 Steps to Build Your Self-Confidence

Confidence isn’t something we’re born with, it’s something that needs to be cultivated.

For most of my life I have only known two kinds of confidence: over-confidence and no confidence. I’d like to say that I am a confident person but I never had a sense of what confidence truly looked like. I grew up believing that confidence was something that you had when you did things right.

Unfortunately, that did not make sense to me. As I grew up I started to understand that confidence came with some type of plan and action. It wasn’t about the loudest person or the toughest person. A confident person would do what they felt was necessary to get something done and it usually included some fear. I figured, maybe it was two sides of the same coin, and it is.

Confidence comes from inside each one of us and it involve thought and action. It comes from belief in ourselves based on what we do in life.

I have spent most of my life trying to develop my sense of self confidence and it has been with me all along. It’s similar to what Glinda the Good Witch tells Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz that she always had the power but needed to learn that she had it. Yeah, I was never fond of that part of the movie, but it does relate to confidence. We need to take action to understand what we can do in life and, in doing this, we gain confidence in our abilities and actions. We learn that fear is the back side of confidence. It’s like flipping a coin. Heads or tails. You can’t really have one without the other.

When we push forward and do things that scare us, it is the fear that makes itself known. When a child manages to get their balance on a bike or a skateboard we cheer for them because they are taking a chance and doing it while the child usually is very vocal about their fear. In the end, we focus on all the positives of the experience to help them grow.

So why is it so difficult to do this with ourselves? The concepts of things like belief, strength of character, and confidence are also attached to failure, pain, and embarrassment. I have spent a long time focusing on the negative side in my life, and it hasn’t helped me to get better unless it is connected to overcoming perceived failures and motivating myself to be successful. Look at both sides of the coin and decide what you want to do? Heads or tails? Going forward or looking back?

Pick your path. It is the only way to get moving. Here are four steps to start building confidence in you!

1. Show up for yourself. Whether it is work, starting a business, exercise, meditation, doing a new routine — just show up and do it. It is a victory for you!

2. Invest in yourself. Make time for the things that you want to do on a regular basis including downtime afterwards. It will allow you the time and space to make it a habit. You are important and need this time!

3. Don’t get lost in your head. It is easy to make comparisons with people that are already down the road of exercise, finding a different job, looking for love, etc. Your path can only be lived by you! Cherish it!

4. Your best self has to include believing in yourself! We give so much attention to our negative thoughts that many times these are the only things we hear. In this case, listen to the voice that wants to get better. You can be your most dynamic self just by allowing yourself to grow no matter how difficult it might seem. To quote Lao Tzu, “Every journey (or JRNI) begins with a single step.” Take the first step! You will be glad you did!

To navigate your own self-confidence journey with Carlos, book a session with him here.

Are you interested in learning more about how you can cultivate the different thoughts, feelings, and experiences you want more of? We have a whole class dedicated to positive psychology in our Catalyst Coaching Intensive. Learn more here.JRNI

Real Life Coaches. Real Life Community. Real Life.

Published in March 2018 for JRNI on Medium

Happy New Year…Now What?

This is the time to do what we have resolved to do for the new year. Great! How do you do that? I would like a job that pays me more money. Like many people it is always difficult to figure out what is the first step. Often, there is a list. Make more money. Get an advanced degree. Make more money. But how do we go about doing things that take us where we want to be? You put yourself out there. You start with the mindset that you will do the things that you have wanted to do and you do it.

It doesn’t matter if it seems impossible because you have started with a mindset that you believe that you are going to do what you said you would do. You make the impossible possible because you create it, announce it, and put it out there. The rest is chance and belief. If you do it long enough you are going to see that you will find something that you didn’t expect and it will lead you down a road that you would never have taken if you hadn’t written this. This is the time of the year to put those beliefs to work. Momentum does work. You just have to give it a push to get moving!

Joseph, Copper, and Moose

A little more than three years ago I walked into a meeting with a guy named Joseph in this smallish gym. He seemed to be full of energy but also very smart and intuitive. Often times in our lives we find people, or in this case, a person, that influences our lives in a way we didn’t expect. Joseph is one of those persons in my life. I went to him seeking help with my constant back pain and he did that and more. He challenged me for a little more than 3 years not just in strength training, but also about my personal beliefs, my goals in life, and my belief in my self. He was the guy that asked the questions that I didn’t want to answer or think about them. Was it annoying? Absolutely. Was it needed? Absolutely. Did he change my thinking? Yes, he did.

Thank you Joseph for being an awesome mentor! You helped me see that at 55 I can lift, learn, and endure. The boundaries that I thought were constraining me were simply in my mind and of my creation. As we go through our days we simply have to go forward to find out what we are capable of doing without fear. The excuses and old beliefs are just holding us back. I learned that from Joseph because he would remind me most days at the gym. Joseph, you practice what you preach. It is inspiring. Thank you for these last 3 years. Thank you for being a friend and a mentor.

The Why and the What

I am on my journey these last few weeks but the road is bumpy. Whether it is my doing or simply life throwing me a curve ball I feel mostly lost. This is when I need to take deep breath and remember the why and the what that got me here. We all have times where we lose our sense of direction and motivation or we just can’t see it because we are overwhelmed in a particular moment. For me, it feels like the water has risen and I’m almost underwater. This is when we need to go back and evaluate if our why and our what are still authentic to ourselves.

My why and what are still the same although on some days they may look somewhat or seem different. My why has always been the same. I like to help others. It is being helpful to others that makes me joyous. My what manifests itself in the work that I do teaching, mentoring, and coaching. Sometimes we need a reminder to help us realize that the road is bumpy at times but we just need to stop and come back to what started us down this road in the first place. If we are excited still by what the work we do then keep going down the path. The passion is still there as is the belief in pursuing this type of life.

We all have days where we question what we are doing. This is normal. We just need to remember and evaluate the why and the what of your life. Otherwise, to quote the Talking Heads in their song Once In a Life Time, “you may ask yourself how did I get here?” We all want to answer that we chose what we do in life because it is meaningful to us and it is what drives us.


Changing Ourselves

When are we good enough?

This seems to be a constant issue in many people’s lives including my own. When are we good enough? What are we doing to help ourselves, others, and the world around us? When are we done? Are we ever done? Perhaps not.

It is difficult topic because we don’t have someone whispering in our ear telling us when we have done enough. We start every morning believing that we have time to do all those things that we want to do. At the same time, many of us (meaning me) believe that there will be another day, week, month, or year to do it. Maybe we do. But maybe we don’t. Whether or not we have time is one of those things that we mostly don’t know. But the truth is that it doesn’t matter whether we know when we leave this earth. What matters is spending our time and energy on things that are important to us. That is where we should be focusing.

Many people spend a majority of time trying to change others. If that is your vocation and you like it then more power to you! However, if you are in a situation where you are trying to change a spouse, a parent, an adult offspring, or a friend this can be a very rewarding use of time if you are successful but, unfortunately, if you are not having success with a person that is unable to change it might be better to move on. We can always support people on their path to get better but we cannot do it for them.We are better off figuring out why we are spending this time on someone else rather than on ourselves.

Often times, we are more successful being a role model for change rather than the person trying to help someone else get started. Change is usually more meaningful if it comes from a person who wants to change. Personal commitment and belief in yourself can be more potent than having a team of coaches helping you work. If a person is truly interested in change they will be the catalyst for themselves and they will feel much better with the change because it came from them. You might find that your best example of change maybe, and often is, yourself.

Start today!

Life Coaching

Often when someone mentions a coach I have a quick flashback to being on a sports team when I was a kid. My recollection of most of my early coaches is a middle aged male who mostly yelled and expected a better effort on the field or court. Ironically, I became a soccer coach myself years later and I found myself yelling, at times, but I also directed and encouraged my players to stay focused and aware. However, it was not ideal for every athlete because some needed more explanation and support than others.

So where I am going with this? Well, the answer is the helpful life coach. The type of coach that walks with you, listens to your thoughts and beliefs, and helps navigate with you on the path that you are following. But most importantly, it is a collaboration. The power of this dynamic lies in the synergy of both the client and the coach working towards the same objective, finding a better life path.

There are many types of coaches that work with people to help them as they journey on their path in life. This is the type of coach that I am today. I work with JRNI. If you feel like you could benefit from working with a life coach take a look at the website.

What is your path, and what support do you need to get there?


The Long and Winding Road

The Beatles sang of the long and winding road. It is, like most Beatles songs, a great song. We all have different roads to take and decisions to make. The best part of our life journey is that it is our path to take. The difficult part of the journey is that at varying times other people will attempt to hijack your journey. This can happen when well-meaning people (parents, relatives, spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc.) try to direct your journey. We get sidetracked by well-meaning individuals who believe that they know what is best for you, and they try to nudge us in a direction that is not our own. It is wearisome enough to sort through our own thoughts and beliefs with the outside noise constantly invading our thoughts. A barrage of opinions and beliefs often leave us wondering whether we even like what we are doing, or if we are on the right track. But the only person that we really should be listening to is our own authentic self. The self that has beliefs, opinions, and dreams that are ours.

It is time for you and I to follow our dreams even if they seem like a pipe dream. The long and winding road will come to an end, and hopefully it will be the flourishing of our own, authentic dreams. We need to live this life for ourselves even with the many twists and turns along the way. Ask yourself, what is your long and winding road? What are your goals along the way? Are you giving yourself enough credit for what you do or are you taking yourself for granted?

Think about what you do for others (family, friends, work). Reflect on the friendships you have and the people that are most important to you. Take a moment and reflect on where you are right now. Think about the achievements you have reached and the people you have served. We need to acknowledge ourselves on a daily basis because we get lost in the details that derail us from living the life that we want. You are a special person to others even if you don’t recognize it most of the time!