Moving Forward Powerfully In-Spite of Limitations

Moving Forward Powerfully In-Spite of Limitations

Month: August 2019

Ever worked with someone who doesn’t remember to follow through on things? The person who makes it a habit to procrastinate and is often not organized. The one who waits for the last minute to work on that very important project? Ever wondered what causes a person to be this way?

It’s easy to judge someone as lazy, and to even lose trust in a colleague who is unreliable or doesn’t show up fully. It’s harder to understand the cause of such behavior and support that person to change.

Imagine as a child being told that you won’t amount to anything. Imagine being called null and void. Imagine being surrounded by family members who encourage you to play small, because they believe that being successful is evil. What a head trip, right? What do you think happens to that child when he/she becomes an adult?

Our upbringing has a lot to do with how we show up in the world as adults. It’s why the personal development industry is booming. Everyone is looking for answers, for gurus, for the elixir.

“Regardless of the limitations from your upbringing, the choices you make as an adult are yours, and totally on you.”

Shifting out of beliefs that we created as children that don’t serve us as adults isn’t easy. It’s the hardest, most sacred work we can do. However, finding excuses for staying in a limiting mindset is a choice.

My recent podcast guest Carlos was told by an uncle he was null and void. He was told he would not amount to anything. These are not idle words to a child. Before the age of 9 a child encodes his/her beliefs based on what they learn and observe. This continues as we evolve towards adulthood.

Raising children isn’t just about giving them shelter, food, and a physically safe home… we owe them an emotionally safe home too. The emotional safety of our children should be paramount to all we do as parents, educators, and mentors. The words you use around children can empower them or destroy their exuberance for life.

“We wouldn’t walk around with a sharp knife in our hands for fear to cut someone. Using disparaging words around children is just as lethal and hurtful as a sharp knife.”

Words can cut worse than a knife. Physically you can heal from a cut, but an emotional cut can stay with you for a long time and shape your reality.

As a life coach, I don’t get into the psychological needs of my podcast guests. When appropriate I recommend a therapist, but I always challenge the guest on the reasons why they choose to allow those childhood experiences to hold them back.

There is a paycheck associated with holding on to childhood hurts. There is a benefit we choose to hold on to. Many times, it conveniently helps people excuse themselves from being accountable. You’ll hear things like “I do this because of what happened when I was 12 years old”.

That is as good as the drunk person who kills someone while driving, saying: “I didn’t intend to kill anyone, I was drunk”. The choice to get drunk was made consciously. The choice to not practice moderation was made consciously.

I want to acknowledge that emotional wounds are often hidden in the subconscious, and at first the choices made aren’t always conscious. The thing about emotional wounds is that the choices one makes usually create repetitive results.

The repetition of negative outcomes is the visible sign and should serve as an alarm that something is wrong. The problem is, that just like an addict doesn’t always acknowledge he/she is an addict, the emotionally scarred can easily blame circumstances for the outcomes in their lives.

“The paycheck for staying in a limited belief state of mind is that you never have to take responsibility for your life — you choose to be a victim.”

Staying in a victim mindset is a choice. Doing the hard work to move forward powerfully is also a choice. Doing the sacred work to overcome the childhood emotional scars is like going to war with your shadow self.

That brings me back to the conversation with my Rant & Grow podcast guest Carlos. I spoke to him about tapping into one of the four archetypes that can help you move forward powerfully in any situation.

The King/Queen serves for the greater good. They are motivated by the desire to lead and create abundance for everyone they care about.

The Warrior fights for worthy causes, breaks free of limitations and bad situations for themselves and others.

The Lover gives without expectations and creates a safe space for others to vulnerably grow and find peace.

The Magician discovers the world in the grey areas of life and seeks to patiently learn understanding in order to grow.

Each of us shift in and out of all these archetypes at different stages of our lives. Sometimes we tap into the shadow version of these archetypes, like a King/Queen who abuses the power and acts like a tyrant.

I suggest getting familiar with the Jungian archetypes as a way to understand what is right for you, at any given moment to move powerfully through life.

I asked Carlos, what archetype would help him move forward powerfully in his life, in-spite of the emotional scars, and childhood wounds. He chose the King.

Everyone aspires to be the King/Queen. In the case of Carlos that is his aspirational archetype. If you are stuck, you may need to tap into the warrior first.

The warrior will show up no matter what the noise, no matter what the pain, no matter what the obstacles. The warrior can get you past any obstacle as long as you are clear about what you are fighting for.

In the case of Carlos, he is fighting to make a difference, to be a success in his life. He is fighting to prove that having it all isn’t evil, quite the contrary it is a sign of energy, or Light in your life.

At the end of the day, you can make excuses for yourself about how you were raised, how hard it was, and they would be very valid reasons to stay stuck.

You can create such a powerful narrative, that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. You’ll attract everything that validates your narrative, and stay stuck, a victim.

Alternatively, you can make the choice to achieve greatness. The formula for achieving greatness is simple: “PROACTIVE ACTION”. Do the work! Just be the one who defines what greatness is, otherwise, you will end up pursuing someone else’s version of greatness.

Self-awareness will help you make conscious decisions. See a therapist, work with a coach, speak vulnerably with trusted mentors, do all you can to become aware of your behaviors, but go into action in-spite of all the limitations, this will help you show up powerfully in your life.

Check out the coaching session with Carlos and see what commitments he made to move himself powerfully in his life. Maybe you’ll discover some wisdom for your own life. You can listen to the podcast right here.

Decisiveness Is the Elixir to Get Unstuck

Decisiveness Is the Elixir to Get Unstuck

Month: August 2019

I heard from a sage that if ever you are not sure, or not clear on a decision, you should not make one. Isn’t that making a decision? I am not saying this to be a smart aleck, I am just stating the obvious.

No decision is a decision, but it isn’t a decisive one. I think what the sage meant was that if you don’t feel confident in standing by your decision, don’t make one.

The problem with this stream of consciousness is that it doesn’t take into account the possibility that some people are holding on to narratives in their minds about themselves that cause them to lack confidence all together.

In the final analysis the advice is prudent and valuable, but for people who are stuck, and have been for a long time — it doesn’t serve them.

de·ci·sive /dəˈsīsiv/ Adjective: producing a definite result. Having or showing the ability to make decisions quickly and effectively.

Making decisions quickly that are effective is an art. Not everyone can or should make them. However, not being able to be decisive, and sitting on the fence is not going to serve you either.

My guest, Bill, on the recent Rant & Grow podcast, has made indecisiveness a lifelong practice. One that has caused him to live in a permanent stuck state of being. To be fair, this didn’t just happen without cause.

Bill was in a dysfunctional family dynamic with a father who didn’t exactly create a safe environment. His father would yell at him and undermine his child like exuberance for life. Over time a child gives up trying, because he/she feels suppressed.

“While we are not responsible for our upbringing, we are responsible for the choices we make as adults.”

It’s very dangerous to settle into a narrative that becomes our lives. For Bill the familiar narrative was one of manifesting bosses who screamed at him and didn’t make him feel worthy or safe. Bill stayed in a relationship long after it was over, because the discomfort of feeling less than worthy, is familiar to him.

For those who have never experienced manifesting the same things over and over, like in a the “Ground Hog Day” movie, it might prove difficult to understand why a negative experience is familiar to someone. Makes no sense. The truth is we all manifest familiar situations. Good or bad. It’s a matter of accepting if they work for us, or not.

In the case of Bill, manifesting lack isn’t’ something he wants to continue to do. Someone who’s books and teachings I’ve admired over the years, Rav Berg, used to say: “When the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain to change, people change.”

When I speak to guests on my new podcast, it’s difficult to keep it together at times. Sometimes I just want to cry for them. Some of their experiences I learn off-the air, are heartbreaking. Nonetheless the choices we make as adults, are ours and ours alone.

This brings me to the climax of the conversation with Bill. Every choice we make is a decision. Staying stuck is a decision. Moving forward is a decision. Not making a decision is also a decision.

Over the years working with 100s of men, coaching as a volunteer some rather dysfunctional people (some out of choice), I’ve learned that there is no other elixir more powerful than decisiveness.

This isn’t just an elixir for men, this is the cure to what ails most of us. If you don’t like the situation you are in, decide to change it. If you don’t like your career, decide to change it. Change is going to happen anyway. It’s truly the only constant of life. Wouldn’t you rather be the cause than the effect?

Every internal mind chatter about why you can’t do something and so on, is simply a narrative you’ve been selling yourself for a long time. I am not saying it’s easy to be decisive, to move forward, and to honor your self-worth. It’s hard work when your childhood experiences have been stacked up against you. It’s also sacred work.

It’s sacred work because whatever we’ve manifested from our upbringing, we will pass on to our children. Therefore, breaking cycles that aren’t very favorable becomes sacred duty.

There is no shortcut, magic pill, meditation, mantra, or magical ayahuasca tea ceremony with a shaman that will have a more profound effect on your life, than to decisively be in action towards manifesting your life’s purpose. An ayahuasca ceremony might open you up to see the truth behind your masks, behind your ego, but you’ll still have to take action on what you discover to effectively impact your life moving forward.

At the end of the podcast I stress to Bill one simple concept. Do the work! Stop monkeying around, and do the work. As we courageously move forward it gets easier. It’s like getting fit. It hurts initially, and then over time as you get stronger, and more confident, it becomes a source of empowerment and pleasure.

Doing the hard work to change and evolve, becomes a source of pleasure over time because you begin to experience life on your terms, not a familiar robotic loop of a narrative that doesn’t apply to you as an adult, and more than likely never did even as a child.

Listen to the latest podcast right here, and experience Bill’s transformation in the making. Maybe, just maybe you might discover something valuable for your own’s life journey.

Letting Go of Blame Will Set You Free

Letting Go of Blame Will Set You Free

Month: August 2019

When I was a kid, I had to ask permission to leave the dinner table. My parents were loving human beings who were also old school. It worked for them, and it worked for me too. I was also of a generation where your behavior was considered a direct reflection of your parents’ reputation. The pressure was constantly on, to behave properly, do the right thing, and to please my parents.

I remember my mom would often remind me that I represented her and my dad, and if I behaved badly, it would cause the parents of other children to think poorly of them.

For the sake of this blog, we are not going to discuss the merits, or lack thereof of that style of parenting. We are going talk about the impact that kind of pressure can have on us as we become adults.

I recently had Daniel as a guest on my new podcast Rant & Grow. The entertaining and heart-centered show is a life coaching session. Guests rant about situations and people that upset them, and then we dig into the personal root cause of the rant which helps the guests become more self-aware so they can break free and grow.

Daniel is a fairly successful 59-year-old man, born and raised in Los Angeles. He didn’t come from much, financially speaking; therefore, success was defined in terms of making money. His parents worked hard, and much like my own, they did whatever it took to take care of their families. Often doing work they didn’t necessarily like.

Self-sacrifice was the motto for them and their parents too. That motto has been around a very long time for many generations.

The problem with self-sacrifice is that eventually you end up not valuing yourself enough, and you could sell out your own terms as a human being.

In the case of Daniel, he spent years blaming his business partners for a decision “they” made without him. The decision had negative impact on the company the three of them built from scratch. Without realizing it, that moment took the air out of Daniel’s tires. He lost his zest for the travel the job required, and he wallowed like a victim for years.

After digging in a bit, it became clear to Daniel that his pointing fingers was actually a distraction from taking responsibility for the fact that he had actually participated in the decision. He participated by saying nothing, by not taking a stand. By not speaking his truth he was complicit with the decision, but conveniently decided on a narrative in his own mind, that the decision had been made without him.

“I sold out my integrity by not speaking up” Daniel acknowledged.

What was the root cause of him not speaking up when he really needed to? Going back to the self-sacrifice mindset, he didn’t value himself high enough to put his foot down. He learned from his parents to work hard, and keep his mouth shut.

The consequences were detrimental to the business, and to Daniel. The business lost clients and lots of money. Daniel lost his mojo.

The gift of self-reflection is in your ability to take full responsibility for where you are in your life. Daniel did that as we ended our Life Coaching session.

There are two main themes that emerged in the session with Daniel.

First: Self-sacrifice doesn’t serve anyone, and in the end, you end up being a martyr. Everything we do has to be of value to all parties involved. As discussed in a previous blog, being selfish serves everyone best.

Second: Blaming others and playing the victim card is a sure way to avoid accountability, and to suffer for no reason.

Speaking your truth, standing up for your beliefs is not only healthy for your own state of being, but in the case of Daniel it would have helped his company avoid major losses, and would have not robbed him of his zest for the work he loves.

By the end of the podcast Daniel was excited to forgive himself, and his partners — to stop blaming, and renew his zest for his work.

Forgiveness is about taking responsibility for our feelings, our reaction to how others may have wronged us; forgiveness is removing the blame for our own feelings from others. It is no longer blaming another person for our own reactions; it is about taking responsibility for ourselves and our reactions, it is about recognizing in ourselves the opportunities for improvements.

When you look into a mirror and you see a scar, do you blame the mirror? Do you say, I hate you mirror for causing the scar? All the mirror has done is given you a chance to see what is part of you, the mirror is just the messenger.

Often people who seem to wrong us, push our buttons, challenge us, they are messengers trying to help us recognize where we need to transform our own state of being.

Daniel also realized that he doesn’t need to impress or please his parents anymore. He can be his own man in his own right and live a more fulfilling existence void of self-sacrifice.

Most people pleasers are desperate for validation and appreciation. People-pleasing can have serious risks to your health too. It’s a lot of pressure and stress on you, and you can make yourself sick from doing too much.

Typically, people-pleasers are afraid of being rejected or abandoned, often preoccupied with what others think, fearful of saying no with no boundaries.

They are often stuck in relationships where they do all the giving. They are often overworked, exhausted, overcommitted and burned out trying to take care of everyone, with little to no self-care practices.

If that sounds like you, or someone you know… listen to latest Rant & Grow podcast right here — There might be a lesson or two from Daniel’s example and breakthrough.

The Most Powerful Is the Most Vulnerable

The Most Powerful Is the Most Vulnerable

Month: August 2019

Growing up as the youngest of three often felt as if I had to catch up with my siblings. There is a rather large age gap between us and being one of three boys made it fairly competitive between us. Don’t get me wrong I love my brothers, and today the age gap is irrelevant but at the time I felt like I had to get it together fast in order to keep up.

That’s a lot of self-imposed pressure for a kid which continued well into how I’ve led my adult life. As I’ve become more self-aware over the years, I‘ve learned to let go of the need to look good, or know it all, or be the smartest person in the room, and have embraced the power of vulnerability.

I didn’t get here on my own. I had access to tools, mentors, and people who didn’t sell me out along my journey of self-growth. One of the ways I got in touch with my deeper emotions was through a push.

The Push

A push is a methodology I was introduced to about 11 years ago. It’s a way to physically move against a barrier, while being prompted about circumstances that are causing distress. Women tend to be more evolved than men when it comes to being in touch with their emotions and being willing to be vulnerable.

Change is definitely in the air for men learning to be more open, but it does not come easy to all men, and in some cases women too. I was very angry one time with a situation that had happened with a business partner. I felt taken advantage of and was a mix of depressed and pissed off.

I had so many emotions tied up in a ball, I didn’t even know where to start to unravel all of them. I knew I was angry at the individual, and at the outcomes. A group of 10 men stood in front of me, held me and challenged me to push my way through them.

The need to push and to break through was a physical initiative tied to a conscious action. They were pushing me to also say what I really felt, without filters, without fears, with no risk of retribution. I was free to scream, be angry, curse, and do say whatever I needed to say to off-load all the pent-up anger, pressure, and shame.

The combination of physically having to push and being pushed emotionally cracked me wide open. I could finally unload the burden and be free of it.

After I was done doing all that, I was interviewed about my feelings, and since I was raw and open, I was vulnerable and through some good coaching I connected to the real source of my pain.

I felt not good enough, not worthy enough, I felt shame, and I was really angry at myself for not having enough self-worth to have handled things differently to begin with. In the final analysis I had created the outcomes and my feelings.

That was a hard pill to swallow, after having pointed the finger at someone else for the “cause” of “my feelings” for so long. As I say that today it sounds funny to me. It sounds absurd. How could anyone be the cause of my feelings? They are my feelings; I am in charge of them.

I was also lucky that those men did not sell me out. Sadly, we sell people out all the time. We don’t reflect the truth to them out of fear of conflict, or loss, and when we do it’s not always from a place of love, but rather anger.

Those men loved me deeply, because they knew one simple truth. I was a mirror for their own growth opportunity. My vulnerability gave way for them to be vulnerable too. While some would see the scene as me being the student in need of help, the truth is I was being the teacher, and the student at the same time.

“The secret behind being vulnerable is that the one most vulnerable becomes the teacher, and the student. That’s when real growth happens and that’s living a fully self-aware life.”

The Healing

The push gave way to being open to seeing the truth. The truth had nothing to do with the other person at all. That’s the beginning of healing. Healing starts in becoming fully self-accountable.

I was so moved by that experience, and many more since then in the past 11 years coaching people on a volunteer capacity, that I decided to create a podcast show and make the same tools and methodologies available to anyone willing to be courageous.

I created Rant (the push) & Grow (the self-reflection and awareness) to make these tools available to the masses. It is my desire that people listening will not feel so alone in their situations, and more importantly not feel shame from being in difficult situations.

When I was younger, my ego wanted me to look good all the time, as a result I was not authentic, I carried lots of shame around being willing to ask for help. I was disconnected from my inner-self and could not be vulnerable. Being vulnerable was scary.

Today when I coach people in groups, I always lead by saying that the most powerful is the one willing to be the most vulnerable.

When you are vulnerable you give permission to other to do the same, and this enables more authentic relationships based on trust and mutual respect. That’s when life really flourishes, and we begin to experience bliss on a regular basis. That’s when we break free of self-imposed ideas about ourselves that are not rooted in self-love.

“Vulnerability is the beginning of the most rewarding love affair of your life. A love affair with the real you. The authentic, beautifully imperfect you.”

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Please check out the latest episode of Rant & Grow right here. In this episode I describe the show with my friend Eric. Just hit the play button and enjoy it.

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