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March 2010: "Have you considered that this life, the one you are living right now, is perfect?" by Patricia Hirsch

Yes, yes, I know there are assessments that people live in that life will be perfect when… when "this problem" and "that problem" and "so many problems" that often people spend their time, their precious living time, wanting to and having to "fix" so that they will get to "life will be perfect." However, I'm going to ask you to "try on," like you would try a new hat on in a store to see if it fits, that "life is perfect."

Right now this is the life you are living. So how, pray tell, can it be anything other than perfect? This is where you will start designing the rest of your life. You have the opportunity to say whatever you wish to say, be it something of power, or beauty, or sadness, or anger, or disgust, or just plain joy. You have the opportunity to make the choices you make regardless of what others think you "should" do or "have to" say about it or any other nonsense that might get in the way of designing your life from now forward that life is perfect.

This is your perfect life. How will you choose to design it? How will you choose to shift who you are being such that life shows up as perfect? It's not up to Mom or Dad. It's not up to your boss, your teacher, your fellow employees, your friends. It's not up to your partner. Guess who gets to choose your life. Bravo! It's YOU!! You are the one that gets to come from life is perfect - right now - and you get to choose… "x" …or maybe choose "y." What's it going to be?

Okay, say you're 58 years old, and you've been laid off a job, and you have a bad cold, and your partner is mad at you, and all you want to do is scream to the world, "It's not fair!!" Is life perfect? Absolutely!

Being 58 years old - wow. That's coming into the age of wisdom where you are able to draw on your legacy and make choices based on what you have observed in your life up till now.

Having been laid off, you can now choose where next you wish to focus your intentions and how about on your passions? Oftentimes people default into a job or career, and it's not necessarily what they wanted to do when they were young and people asked them, "What do you want to do when you grow up?" Granted, you may have to adjust a few things and decrease spending to match what you can afford; however, think of what opportunities you can now design living from life is perfect.

You know you will get better if you care for your cold with responsibility. All it takes is lots of fluids, vitamins, cleanliness, and rest.

Your partner is mad at you. Okay, this one I ask you to think from that new hat perspective that our assessments often choose for us and we let them. With a partner mad at you, what assessments are you living from that can get in the way of life is perfect with your partner? How about this one… my partner is mad at me and that's okay!

"But," you say, "how about me screaming at the world, it's not fair?" That too, is perfect. I say an emotion expressed allows the emotion to dissipate. Not the truth, just another way to look at emotions. Say the emotion fear comes up, or perhaps frustration, or how about the mood helplessness, or hopelessness, that has you want to shout "it's not fair!"? I say that's perfect. Well, what's perfect is to shout it if it is calling out to be shouted, and we are responsible about our shouting. In other words, I find the perfect place for me to shout out my frustrations or anger or upsets are while sitting inside my car, with the window down, driving down the freeway. What a perfect place in my perfect life to express those emotions that wouldn't necessarily be acceptable nor responsible inside my home (unless it's into a pillow), or my work place or a movie theater. In my perfect life, it works for me to express those emotions driving down the freeway. It's brilliant if I say so myself as I am then able to observe the fear, frustration, helplessness or hopelessness and choose to "be at cause" in my life.

So, life is perfect. This has been just a tiny view from my perspective. I wouldn't want it any other way. Living in life is perfect allows me to look at each of my fellow human beings as the perfect people with which to interact and since I absolutely love my fellow human beings, how perfect it is that they come into my life.

Patricia

Patricia Hirsch, MBA, Master Certified Coach and Chief Empowerment Officer with Design Your Life Coaching

 


March 2010: "Your “To-Do” List – Is it a Tool or a Weapon?" by Nahid Casazza

How do you feel when you look at your to do list?

  • Do you feel confident that everything is contained in one place, or do you wonder what’s missing?
  • Do you feel clear about what to get started with, or do you feel overwhelmed at how long the list is?
  • Do you feel a sense of accomplishment as you check items off throughout the day, or a sense of desperation as you watch the list grow throughout the day?
A to-do list is supposed to be an organizational tool, used to keep you productive, prioritized, and focused, and as a result it should greatly reduce your stress. But all too often I work with clients with to-do lists they want to hide from. The sense of overwhelm they experience as they see an unending list that can’t possibly be completed is enough to send them crawling back under the covers and take a sick day. If your to do list makes you feel bad and doesn’t help you work more productively, it may be a weapon you are using against yourself instead of the tool you originally created to serve you.

When facing your to-do list feels like facing an enemy, chances are it has become a trigger for negative self talk. If you listen closely to the words of your thoughts, you might notice things like, “I am so incompetent – I’ll never get all of this done”, or “what a loser”, or “this will take weeks and I’ll never get any time to relax and enjoy my life”, or “it’s useless, I can’t get on top of it – why bother doing any of it?” There are many variations in what you might be saying to yourself, but if the sight of your list triggers feelings of overwhelm, impatience, exhaustion, or other draining emotions, you can bet there is some form of negative thinking and self-talk behind it.

For many people, the energy drain is so severe that they avoid the list and procrastinate on tasks they might have otherwise enjoyed or easily completed. When that happens, your to do list has become a weapon you are inadvertently using against yourself, and it is no longer effectively serving its purpose as an organizational tool.

So, if this is happening to you, what do you do about it?

The first thing is to get back to the purpose of the to-do list. The to-do list serves you; you don’t serve it. Ask yourself why you have a list in the first place? Is it to keep you more organized, or prioritized? Is it to prevent you from forgetting things? Once you get clear on what you wanted the list for in the first place, you can make some adjustments to your list, or you can use an alternative tool that might work better. Here are a few ideas:

1. To keep you prioritized and productive: write a “top 5” list each day, of the five most important things you want to get done. There may be a longer to do list that you use to contain ALL your projects, but the top 5 is much less overwhelming, and keeps you focused on the 20% that will give you 80% of your results.

2. To move through your list faster: Most people know about the A,B,C method of prioritization. A items are the most critical items, B items are important, and C items are things you’d like to do when you can find the time. Add a Q designation for anything that takes 10 minutes or less and is relatively easy. Each day when you get 15 – 20 minutes of open time, such as before a meeting, knock one or two Q’s off your list. You might be surprised at how much shorter your list stays as a result.

3. To get rid of the overwhelm: The bottom line is that technology has changed the nature of work over the past decade such that it is now literally impossible to get everything on our lists done. The people who survive in this new age of information overload have changed their mindsets and expectations accordingly. It’s no longer “getting it all done” that is important. It’s choosing what’s most important now, given the current circumstances and opportunities in this moment, which may be entirely different from what was relevant just a moment a go. Shifting your mindset to a new way of judging your competence can be powerful. Instead of “getting it all done”, if “getting what’s most important done” is what makes you competent, your to do list may lessen its power over you, and go back to its rightful place as your servant.

Copyright November 2009. All rights reserved.

To learn more about Nahid Casazza's coaching practice, visit her website and blog: www.aspyrre.com.