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Coach Carlene

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Have you found yourself lying in bed in a cold, dark room, thinking how messed up your life is? Or have you felt a deep sense of regret for missed opportunities? Or are you disappointed because you thought you’d be in a different place in your life right now, but you’re still where you were one, three or five years ago?

You ask yourself, “Why do I even bother? Nothing works out for me. I try and my efforts always bring failure.” 

When we look at our lives in this big picture way, it’s hard to pull ourselves out of the woe is me.

So here are 3 big picture truths to remember when you feel like you may as well not even bother. 

Truth #1: You choose your thoughts, you choose the outcome.

It all starts in your mind. 

Our mind controls everything else. If you believe you can’t do something, it doesn’t matter how many tips or tricks you have up your sleeve. They won’t work, because you don’t believe you can do it. If you think you’re a terrible parent, you will be a terrible parent. Instead, think, I’m doing the best I can, and I will reach out for support when I need it. 

Take the time to notice those thoughts that aren’t serving you. Create a new thought that moves you forward.

If you think, “I know myself, I always get distracted, I’m not gonna even try.”

Your new thought would be, “There will always be distractions and I can choose where my focus goes.”

Truth #2: You have far more control than you think. 

When you feel powerless the world wants you to feel lost. But you’re not. You have control over yourself, your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

You have control over who you are in any given situation and how you show up. When you know this and take that control it helps you be a better parent, friend, employer, spouse, sibling etc.

In any given situation, ask yourself what you have control over. Let go of the things you can’t control. Put your energy towards the things you can control. 

The question to ask yourself is, “Who do I want to be in this situation?”

Do you want to be the person that shows up and does what you say you’ll do?

Or, do you want to be the person who makes excuses about why you can’t do it?

You see. You have choices. Choices mean you have control.

Truth #3: You are not what you do. 

You bring who you are  into what you do. Stop being tied to your title as a lawyer, teacher, parent, daughter, spouse etc. 

When you bring who you are into your work, your relationships, your parenting, that’s what makes them so special. The essence of who you are is threaded through every role you play in life.

Here’s a great journal prompt: What is it about you that makes people’s experiences with you special? Or, if you don’t know, ask people. 

Wrapping It Up

Keep these 3 truths top of mind when you’re looking at the big picture of your life and it’s not everything you had worked or hoped for. They will ground you and shift your focus to what you can do.

Are you feeling it? 

It’s as if we’ve finally, almost, gone back to our old normal (pre-covid). And I gotta tell you, I’m exhausted. My clients are exhausted and asking me, “Carlene, is this even realistic? Doing it all? How did I keep going at this pace day after day?”

If you’re one of the few who has managed to keep some of the “slowing down” a part of your life, I’m sending you a big ol’ high five. 

But if you’re in the first camp, running from thing to thing, barely able to catch your breath, and feeling like you’re not doing enough, keep on reading.

First, you need to stop and take a deep breath. (Yes, I’m totally serious).

Now stop telling yourself that you’re not doing enough.

This is your invitation to silence the voice that says you need to be doing more. 

First, where did that come from, that in order to  prove yourself worthy, you need to be doing more? 

How is it that proof of you being a kind person, a good human, comes from a laundry list of working, volunteering, overextending and exhausting yourself? 

Why is it that you have to have 5 or 500 different things going on to feel productive and valued? 

Who said working and taking care of yourself and your family is not enough?

Do what you have to do, delete what you don’t, dream what you love to do, deal with what you don’t.

UNKNOWN

Your worth is not measured by how many things you check off your to-do list.

Yes, you can start saying “no” to more things. You can try to find more time. You can try to be more efficient and delegate.

But what this really calls for is a change in mindset around your busyness, your value and your worth. 

When you live each day with this one thing, your productivity and your self-worth sky-rocket. 

This one thing is called Intention
A determination to act in a certain way.

MERRIAM WEBSTER

Instead of looking at your long laundry list of to-do’s and cramming them in between your meetings and appointments try setting your intentions first. 

What are your intentions for this week? Or, it could be for the weekend or the day.

Here’s how it works. 

When we set intentions our to-do lists are a reflection of those intentions, not random things we think we need to get done.

Your intentions should speak to WHO you want to be this week, HOW you want to show up. 

Here are my 3 intentions for this week. 

Intention 1:

To be present and be the best coach I can be for my clients and community. (I could have just said coaching, but do you see the difference when it has texture? I know exactly how I want to show up.)

Now in order to support that intention, there are specific things I must do to ensure I show up as the best coach I can. Here’s what those look like.

To Do’s for Intention 1

→ 1:1 Coaching sessions with clients (M, T, W)

→ Writing a blog post.

→ Emailing y’all the blog post. 

→ Posting blog post, encouragement/how-to’s on IG Posts/Stories (post 4 days this week)

Intention #2:

To love myself first and take care of my physical and emotional needs. (Much more powerful and specific than “Self-Care”)

To Do’s for Intention 2:

→ Barre Class MWF – schedule on app

→ Walk dog daily

→ Journal before bed

→ Drink 64 oz water daily

→ Friday facial

Intention #3

To spend focused time with family and friends, listening, talking, laughing, planning together.  (Saying “Socialize” is to broad)

To Do’s for Intention #3:

→ Have family dinner 3x (or more this week)

→ Meal planning and grocery shop.

→ Call my Mom (daily)

→ Plan Jan Vacation with the girls.

→ Book flights

→ Reserve park tickets

→ Text 3 people I haven’t talked to in awhile to tell them I’m thinking of them.

Do you see how setting your intentions drives what’s on your to-do list? If a to-do pops up that doesn’t fall under one of your weekly intentions ask yourself:

🤔 Is this something I can do next week?

🤔 Is this a must do now, (the world will end if I don’t do it.)

🤔 Will anyone notice or care if it gets done this week?

Living your days with intention changes how you make decisions, how you show up, and how you feel about yourself at the end of your day.

It’s not about a life of activity. It’s about a life of intention.

Instead of trying to do it all, do what’s important and do it well.

Do any of these sound familiar?

“I just can’t focus. I don’t know where all the time goes. I never finish anything. Heck, getting started is almost impossible.”

You’re constantly reinforcing this belief that you’re distractible by nature with all those soundtracks playing over and over.

Those days are over, if you really want them to be.  

Here, you’re going to learn how to train yourself to stay focused and on task. 

First, be willing to question your identity as a distractible person or your belief that you have a short attention span. Yes, even if you’ve been diagnosed with ADHD or suspect that’s what’s going on for you. You have a brain that can go in a million directions — if you let it. But don’t live by labels, so don’t let that diagnosis limit or restrict you.

What’s more, we all live in a day and age where giant companies profit off their ability to distract us. So ADHD or not, many of us have grown up in a culture of constant interruptions, distractions, and sensory overload.

If you haven’t set yourself up — to make it easy and fail-proof to succeed — you’re not broken, you’re just fighting an uphill battle. So how do you turn the tides?

Training yourself to stay on task has two parts. First, you must eliminate distractions and temptations as much as humanly possible. Second, you must consistently flex your focus, because it’s like a muscle that improves with practice. 

It’s going to take time. If you can only do one pushup, you wouldn’t expect to do 50 overnight, right? You’d push yourself to two, then five, then 10. The same thing goes for your focus. If you’ve spent years training yourself to flit from one task to another every few minutes, practice focusing for five minutes, then set a stretch goal to 10. Then 20. 

3 Steps to Eliminate Distractions and Temptations

#1 Guard Your Time and Attention – From Yourself

It’s up to you and you alone to guard your attention and make it unacceptable for anything or anyone to interrupt you when it’s focus time.

Let’s start with the big one: technology. There are a few common reasons why people don’t take control of their tech.

“But I NEED notifications to be reachable in emergencies and accessible to my family/team.”

Unless you are a brain surgeon, I guarantee you don’t need to be as accessible as you think you do. (And even brain surgeons deserve some uninterrupted time — do you really want them answering texts while poking around in your brain?) 

Or,

“I’m too busy to change all my settings.”

Too busy to set yourself up for success, you mean? Here’s a little tough love.

You’ve got to ask yourself, “If I really want to focus, what would I do?” Well, I’m telling you exactly what to do. If you choose not to do these 3 things, then maybe you really don’t want it. I’m going to assume that since you’ve read this far, you really want to focus and get your stuff done.

Let’s keep going, friend.

Some studies show that up to 60% of the average workday is wasted recovering from distractions. Take five minutes to update your phone and desktop now, and save yourself thousands of hours in the long run.

You’re thinking, “I’m not tech-savvy! I have no idea where to start.” Help is here. Google and YouTube always have tutorials on “How to Turn Off Notifications” or “How to Put My Phone in Do Not Disturb” that will walk you through this, step-by-step. You won’t believe how quick and easy it is.

Google it. Ask YouTube. Ask a friend.

You are more than capable of figuring things out, including how to set up your phone so it stops disturbing you.

First, turn off notifications on your phone. 

Your wondering, “Which apps should I switch off notifications for?””

Virtually all of them. The goal is to put yourself in full control of your technology. You decide when to check your apps, you don’t let them decide for you!

Okay, I’ll wait right here, while you do this. 

You’re back!

Did you do it?

YES, I turned off notifications for email

YES, I turned off notifications for social media

YES, I turned off notifications for all other apps and interrupters

Next set your phone to Do Not Disturb mode!

I know what you’re thinking. “I can’t use Do Not Disturb mode! What if I miss an important call from my kid’s school or my ill mother?”

This is an easy fix! Tap on “Allow Calls From” and add important numbers like your kid’s school, your mom, or your boss. This allows their calls — and only their calls — to come through during Do Not Disturb mode.

Okay, I’ll wait right here, while you do this. 

You’re back!

Did you do it?

YES, I added important numbers to the “Allow Calls From” so I won’t worry about missing an emergency call.

YES, my phone now has an automatic Do Not Disturb setting!

Finally, remove desktop notifications.

Again, google and youtube are your best friends here. 

Okay, I’ll wait right here while you do this.

Did you do it?

✅ Yes, I turned off all desktop notifications.

Hey, do you hear that? It’s the sound of silence and sweet uninterrupted focus.

#2 Don’t Resist Temptation, Remove It

Start by identifying the temptations and distractions that are most problematic, then make it extremely hard to interact with them.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

If you watch too much TV, you can remove the batteries from your remote so you deliberately have to put them back in each time you turn the TV on — or get rid of your TV altogether!

Does social media suck you down a time sinkhole? You could remove email and social media from your phone completely. Only access them on your desktop at pre-scheduled times.

Online shopping or news sites get you off track? Set up an app like Freedom or a browser extension like BlockSite for Chrome to block certain websites during your focus hours.

Let’s identify your 3 biggest distractions. Get paper and pen. Make 2 columns. In the left column list the three biggest distractions that derail your focus. In the right column, brainstorm specific actions you can take to make them too hard or inconvenient to tempt you.

Distraction: (Left Column)
Bingeing Netflix

Action Steps to make it harder (Right Column)

→Log out of my Netflix account on all devices

→Add a deliberate block of guilt-free “Blissful Netflix time” to my calendar

→Change my password to“isthisreallythebestuseofmytime

Now choose one action step for each distraction and DO IT! Experiment for 30 days and see what happens to your productivity and well-being. Reassess and tweak as you go.

Great work!

#3 Guard Your Time and Attention – From Everyone Else

Now that we’ve handled the ways you distract yourself, let’s deal with other humans.

It’s not enough to hope that other people won’t call or text or pop their head into your office with a “quick question” when you’re trying to focus. Remember, hope is not a strategy. You set the rules for how others are allowed to consume your time.

There are three ways to guard your time and attention from others:

#1 Become inaccessible.

Guess what? Folks can’t interrupt you if they can’t find you! You’ve already done the hardest part by removing notifications and making Do Not Disturb your default setting.

You may also want to make yourself physically inaccessible by closing yourself into your office, leaving the house, and using noise-canceling headphones at that out-of-the-way coffee shop when needed.

#2 Stop being an enabler.

You need to establish new rules for the people in your life. Don’t immediately answer texts, emails, or phone calls randomly throughout the day.

Train yourself (and the people in your life) that you’re not on-call 24/7.

#3 Communicate your boundaries.

The important people in your life can’t respect your boundaries if they don’t know what they are. It’s up to you to manage the expectations of your coworkers, family, children, spouse, boss, parents, and friends.

Let’s Recap:

To eliminate distractions:

#1 Guard your time attention – from yourself

Start by removing the distraction and temptation of your phone and computer.

#2 Don’t resist temptation, remove it.

Identify your top 3 distractions and take action to make them harder for you to access.

#3 Guard your time and attention from everyone else.

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries!

I promise, if you do the following 3 steps consistently you’ll be amazed at the progress you can make.

Pretty soon you won’t be telling yourself that you’re “distractible.” You’ll be telling yourself, “I know how to focus and get it done!”

Let’s face it. Disappointment can be crushing.  And as hard as it can be to pull yourself up from your bootstraps and march onward, you’ve just got to do it.

But how?

Spoiler alert:  it has everything to do with your mindset.

You’ve got to have the right mindset to recover from disappointment in a relationship, in others, in yourself, or anything you put effort into, and it didn’t go as planned. You’re human so you’ve already experienced disappointment several times. I know. I’ve been there. 

Disappointment makes you feel defeated, like you’re a failure, or sad or frustrated or angry.. I don’t want to put words in your mouth—you feel however you feel. But it’s worth acknowledging that you’re having these feelings and the disappointment that started the entire spiral of feelings is painful.

Yes, disappointment hurts. 

Why Disappointment Hurts So Much

Disappointment hurts both physically and mentally. No matter how much you experience it, the pain doesn’t seem to hurt any less. You could feel tired, heavy, and numb, while others feel like the world is going too fast around them. But why does this happen? Why does it hurt?

This is really fascinating. When we’re in physical pain our body steps up and shows up for us to relieve the hurt we’re feeling by releasing endorphins. Our bodies do this instantly in response to a physical injury. 

But darn it anyway, when it comes to psychological pain, like disappointment, our bodies don’t deal with it at all. 

Neuroscientists discovered something obvious recently. That a neuronal “jolt” happens before every disappointment. There’s a sudden decrease in serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. 

Those feel good neurotransmitters responsible for your well-being, ditch you, leaving you to deal with the pain on your own.

Instead of the relief we crave during such occasions, many of us end up with stress symptoms such as migraines and muscular tension.

5 Ways to Move On From Disappointment

#1. Feel the Feels

Give yourself a good twenty-four hours to be sad, to be frustrated, to feel defeated. Acknowledge the disappointment, by naming and validating it. 

This can help you ride the wave of disappointment, which will pass with time.

According to neuroscientist, Jill Bolte-Taylor, the lifespan of an emotion in the body and brain is 90 seconds.

This means that in 90 seconds or less, the disappointment you’re experiencing will shift and morph into something else. So, sit with that disappointment. Feel it. You are safe. It’s only 90 seconds of your life. 

Now, once you’re past that 90 seconds, you’re still feeling sad or frustrated or like you got duped or any other feelings you might have. So, if you need a little pity party, you got twenty-four hours, my friend. Go there and do whatever you need to do—sleep a little extra, call a friend, cry, whatever that looks like to you—have your moment because we’re going to be moving on. But before we do, we’re not going to ignore all the emotions that are coming up for you. 

#2. Ask better questions

Don’t beat yourself up and ask, “What’s wrong with me?” “Why can’t I do anything right?” “Why do I always push people away?”

Instead ask:

What can I do differently next time?

What are the facts… what really happened here?

What can I learn from this?

This allows  you to get creative based on the lessons you learned, and that way, you will always strive to do bigger and better things based on the lessons you learned in that experience. You’re not trying to live in the past, and you’re not ignoring it. You’re just saying, “All right. What can I do better next time?”

#3. Normalize it

Simply, disappointment is part of life.  

Oftentimes, the build-up to disappointment is the same for all of us. Hope is great; it’s a wonderful thing that keeps us going. But it comes with a similarly great downside: disappointment. For instance, the more time we spend fantasizing about how amazing it would be to win the lottery, the greater our disappointment is when we lose.

Don’t stop dreaming, thinking that will get you out of feeling disappointment down the road. I guarantee, you’ll be disappointed years from now that you were too afraid to dream. Disappointment will find you. You can’t feel hope without knowing the flipside of disappointment. Remember, it’s what you do with the disappointment that matters. 

#4. Check yourself

Manage your expectations.

When you take a good look at your expectations, you will be getting closer to a true understanding of the event. Perhaps your expectations were unrealistic. Perhaps they could be adjusted a little to cope with this new reality. Either way, now is the time to question whether these expectations actually serve you.

#5. Move Forward

The beauty of life is that there’s always tomorrow to look forward to. If an event brings you disappointment, it doesn’t mean that you should shy away from it forever. If you can, try again. Identify your next opportunity and work your way to reach it.

Start small. Remind yourself of all the great things you can accomplish.

If what you’re doing isn’t working and failure seems to be a constant in your life, perhaps it’s time to create a different game plan. 

In Conclusion

Learning how to get over disappointment is a key skill in life, and will make things much easier to accept and move on.

But remember, disappointment isn’t all that bad. In fact, it provides information about the way you view yourself, the world, and the people around you. It also helps you better understand what’s important to you.

Why is it so hard to do the things you say you’re going to do?

It’s simple, you haven’t built the skill of self- discipline.

You build it through repetition.

And it all begins with how you talk to yourself. 

The language you use determines whether you’ll uplevel your behavior or not.

You can upgrade your behavior with this one sentence stem “I don’t.

I don’t do guilt. 
I don’t eat after dinner.
I don’t do worry.
I don’t do overwhelm vs I can’t do overwhelm

It’s been proven that saying “I don’t….” is 8x more effective than other language choices when it comes to upleveling your own behavior.

This is all came to light based on research don by Dr. Vanessa Patrick. She found that when people frame a refusal saying “I don’t” as in “I don’t eat chocolate cake, I don’t skip the gym”, instead of I can’t they were way more effective at resisting temptation. 

In fact, when choosing whether or not to eat certain foods saying I don’t was 3x as effective as saying no and 8x more effective than saying I can’t.

When we say, I don’t, we experience that as a choice we’re making. We feel strong. We feel empowered. We feel like were expressing our identity. 

The moment you say I can’t you start to feel restricted inside, you feel weak, like a victim. It’s as if there’s some external authority or external circumstance that’s controlling your life. 

Go ahead, try using this little sentence stem, “I don’t”.

I don’t do guilt. 
I don’t eat after dinner.
I don’t do worry.
I don’t do procrastination.
I don’t look at my phone first thing in the morning.
I don’t do people pleasing.

Your brain is literally a supercomputer that’s going to follow the directions that you program it with. Your brain simply believes what you tell it most.  What you repeatedly say to yourself matters. 

This isn’t science fiction, this is science fact aka Neuroplasticity. 

More specifically Hebb’s Law that says neurons that fire together, wire together. 

Your self-talk shapes your brain which shapes your beliefs, which drives your behavior, which creates your thoughts, your feelings, your experiences, which creates the totality of your reality.

So, remember the brain believes whatever you tell it most. And whatever you tell it most about you and your experiences is what it is going to create. 

It has no choice. But the conscious creator that is you has a choice. You can start to reprogram your brain, right now.

Repeat after me, I don’t….

To put it simply, imposter syndrome is the fear of being found out. 

You fear that if you are found out, that you’ll be labeled, judged and rejected. You fear you won’t be taken seriously. 

In response to this fear you do 1 of 3 things. 

#1 You strive.

You grind out your work out day after day to stay one step ahead of this jury that is going to find you out and cast judgment. You perform and hustle so that no one can tell you that you don’t belong. Striving is an exhausting way to live.

#2 You hide.

If you can’t strive and perform, you hide and pretend. You put more emphasis on your appearance than your performance.

You may use apathy to hide. Apathy is a shield. You tell yourself, you really don’t want it. It’s as if you’re running away from something you never wanted so bad. You use apathy to protect yourself from caring because if you care, you might be found out and you might get hurt. 

Some people use anger and sarcasm to hide. You make excuses why you’re not showing up. You blame others. You justify your lack of progress. 

#3 You quit.

If you can’t strive or hide, you simply quit.

What’s your response to imposter syndrome? Strive, hide, or quit?

Clearly, not one of those things is helping you one bit. So what should you do instead?

This is how to outsmart imposter syndrome.

#1 Instead of striving, check your expectations. 

Imposter syndrome sets wildly unrealistic expectations and when they aren’t met it proves you’re an imposter. 

Instead, aim high, but aim true. You should have high expectations. But be the best YOU, not the best somebody else.

Ask “What are my expectations?” 

It slows you down to check in on what is really going on. Maybe your expectations are unrealistic. Like, thinking you should have Instant expertise or a flawless performance, or get a standing ovation.

#2 Instead of hiding, show-up.

Show up with your mistakes, your failures. 

Remember when you show-up, it will either be a success or be a story.

When you share your failures, you remove imposter syndrome’s teeth. So share your story. Share what you learned. Your experiences, good and bad, are meant to be shared. The scars you share are a gift to others because you went first. 

What’s a challenge or struggle you need to share with someone? What’s something you need to share to prevent you from hiding?

#3 Instead of quitting, do the work.

This is the most effective way to beat imposter syndrome. 

The only difference between imposter and imposter syndrome is the work. It doesn’t mean you need to become an expert to stop feeling like an imposter. But you just have to be faithful to the work. 

  • Do you write? You’re a real writer.
  • Do you parent? You’re a real mom.
  • Do you run? You’re a real runner.
  • Do you sell a product or service? You’re a real entrepreneur.
  • Do you show houses? You’re a real real estate agent.
  • If you do the work, you tell imposter syndrome to shut up.

Spend 15 minutes doing your work.

You never want imposter syndrome to go away.Imposter syndrome is a sign you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone. 

Here’s the great thing.

When you grab onto those things that make you uncomfortable and do the work, you now have something to add to your comfort zone. 

Use imposter syndrome to verify and celebrate that you’re doing something new and scary. Recognize imposter syndrome, thank it and keep going.

Many of us are doing plenty of visualizations every day.

I’m sure you can remember a time when you worried so much about something that it actually happened.

The problem is that most of us are doing visualizations to create the life we don’t want; we are often using it to imagine the worst outcomes of things or worrying about the future.

Interestingly, research By Guang Yue, an Exercise Psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, has found that people who imagine themselves performing a task, improve their performance in that task without physically doing anything. 

Many athletes including Olympians use it to excel in their sports. Elite athletes use techniques like guided imagery and scripting in their training to do everything from simulate practice, to overcome fear, and even recover from an injury.

What is visualization?

Generally speaking, visualization means creating a mental image of a goal you would like to accomplish in the future. You use your thoughts to imagine a certain outcome, and what you will do to get it. 

Despite popular belief, visualizing isn’t about wishing and hoping something will happen. That’s fantasy. Effective visualization is future-oriented but grounded in reality.

There are huge benefits when you use visualization.

According to psychologists, visualization helps you:

  • Master a new skills.
  • Achieve difficult goals.
  • Improve confidence, courage and resilience. 
  • Improve memory & recall, focus, concentration & energy regulation. 

It also helps you to:

  • Calm down when you feel anxious or stressed.
  • Think creatively to brainstorm possible solutions and strategies.
  • Improve athletic performance and strength.

If you’re anything like me, you shied away from the practice or dismissed it as non-scientific. Well, here’s all the proof you need.

The science of visualization

It turns out that the mind can’t distinguish between imagination and reality.

When you have a thought, it triggers the same cascade of neurochemicals, regardless of whether you are thinking about the past, present, or future. Your brain is stimulated the same way whether you’re physically performing an action or simply visualizing it happening in your mind’s eye.

When you think about yourself nailing a presentation or feeling a wave of pride after finishing a big project, your body and brain perceive that as being real in the present moment, even though it’s a far-off goal.

The neurochemicals stimulated go on to affect your motor control, attention, and planning, which spur you into action. Because neurons that fire together wire together, this process of imagining future outcomes creates new neural networks in your brain that help you form new beliefs, take new actions, and adopt new perspectives. 

Take Control of Your RASS

In particular, visualization stimulates an area of the brain called the Reticular Activating System, which, put simply, scans your environment looking for new opportunities. That’s why when you start thinking about getting a new job or wanting to land a new client, suddenly new opportunities come your way. Your brain is scanning for them. Then, you take action on the newly available options and creative solutions you’re able to see.

Here’s another way of thinking of the Reticular Activating System RAS. Your brain is a gigantic detective. It is a filter. I just said your RAS is looking for new opportunities. Well, it is also constantly looking for evidence. It filters information. It lets certain information in, and blocks out other information. And guess who programmed that filter? You did and the people from your past. 

If you’re constantly feeling like you’re unlovable, then your reticular activating system is going through the day looking for proof of that. It will find every piece of evidence that confirms that limiting belief you have. 

If you think people don’t like you at work your RAS is constantly looking for evidence to confirm that belief all day long. It protects your brain from not letting everything in and only letting in stuff it agrees with.

This is why it’s so important to start reprogramming our RAS. You can reprogram your RAS to filter in meaningful, helpful information.

4-Step Visualization Method

According to science, you have to do visualization using this 4 step method. 

Think about a goal you have and move through the following steps.
Goal, Effort, Problem Solving, Emotions

For example, if your goal is to improve your self-worth I want you to visualize what your life looks like and how you’re going to feel about yourself when your self-worth has improved. 

Step 1. Visualize the goal.

Specifically, visualize the outcome of your goal. Close your eyes and in your mind have a specific picture of what it looks like in your life when your self-worth has improved. You may see yourself speaking up at work, you’ll see yourself talking more about your business, see yourself leaving a bad relationship, defining boundaries, going to the gym, taking care of yourself. 

Step 2. Visualize the effort

Visualize yourself doing the work to achieve your goal. For example, a writer can visualize sitting down to write for an hour every morning as a way of boosting their performance on that habit. Like a skier visualizing engaging her core, visualizing the work that goes into writing a book can be as important—or even more so—as holding the finished hardback in one’s hand.

Step 3. Visualize yourself problem solving

As you start to think about the future, worries will inevitably arise. All those “what-if’s”, fears, and anxieties will rise to the surface. When they do, use them as tools to make your vision more flexible. These are called “implementation intentions”. Think through the barriers that you might encounter, both internal(confidence, energy, etc.) and external (time, money, etc). Then, visualize how you’ll respond to each roadblock. 

Here’s an example: I’m horribly uncoordinated and fearful of tripping over myself when I speak. Instead of letting that thought hold me back, I visualize the absolute worst case scenario (falling on my face) and what I would actually do if that came to pass (pick myself up and make a joke about it). I mentally walk through exactly what I would say — even how I’d breath to lessen the panic.

You can use an “If-then” framework to work through these scenarios: “If I fall on my face, then I’ll pick myself up and make a joke about it.” or “If the phone rings during my writing hour, then I’ll ignore it and check for messages later.”

Step 4. Visualize your emotions

When you start to visualize, I want you to consciously think of the positive emotions you’re going to experience. I’m going to feel happy, proud, to stand taller, going to be so grateful that I made this change.

Marrying the specific image with the emotions lets you see, there I am, getting a promotion, signing a new client, going back to school, being happy not in that abusive relationship, there I am happy. When you do this, you are training your brain to have a totally different filter. 

Final Thoughts

You can try all the hacks out there, but if you keep picturing yourself failing, you will. Picture the goal, picture yourself doing the work and problem solving, and picture how you’re going to feel when you succeed. Watch how things turn around for you when you do.

I see loneliness all over.

  • For the 20 something year olds, just starting out in their jobs working remotely.
  • For the elderly lady who lost the love of her life after more than 50 years of marriage.
  • For the parents becoming empty-nesters.
  • For the recently divorced Mom.
  • For the over-booked busy people who can’t find time to grab a coffee with someone.
  • For the retired, relocating to a new community.
  • For the awkward but oh so lovable middle-schoolers who can’t find their place at the lunch table.
  • For the college students. wanting desperately to find their people.
  • Or anyone, for any reason who is suffering from loneliness.

Feeling lonely every now and then is normal. But sometimes that loneliness can grow until we feel it more often than not.

It’s normal to be alone. Loneliness, however, is a state of mind. It can leave people feeling unwanted, unloved and left out. 

When we’re lonely we still want human interaction, but sometimes our mental state can make it challenging to manage. 

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that feeling lonely blows, but this goes deeper.

Feeling lonely changes the chemistry of your brain, and according to research, it can make mental health issues feel worse.

Loneliness can put you more at risk for developing coronary heart disease and dementia and puts you at a higher risk of stroke.

The good news is that loneliness is something we can all take steps to manage. 

If you are naturally more introverted ( me too) simply pushing yourself out the door can feel surprisingly hard, but it makes a huge difference.

Consider this the push you need.

It’s time to start putting yourself out there again.

And don’t limit yourself to only meeting people your age. Everyone needs younger and older friends.

So how do you do it?

I asked my clients and friends how they meet new people and I learned so much.

We put together the top 10 tips for you here:

#1: Check out phone apps.

Some favorites are Bumble BFF (which helps you meet new friends) and Peanut (which connects moms). I have never heard of these, but I love that this kind of connection has evolved past the romantic dating apps. 

#2: Every community has a Facebook group. 

Join it so you know more about what’s going on. Even if you don’t like facebook, give it a shot.  

#3: Throw a party, start a group, or host a book club. 

Don’t know anyone? Post a flier at the library or your local coffee shop. 

#4: If your town has an events page, check it out. 

I get weekly emails from a mortgage broker that tells me what’s happening in Nashville TN. I don’t live there full-time but I bet he is getting his info from the town event page.

#5: Sign up for a class.

There must be something you’ve wanted to learn; cooking, quilting, sewing, pickle ball or heck if you’re up for something more academic go for it. The point is to be with like-minded people. It will help you boost your connections and stave off those feelings of loneliness. 

#6: Join a gym. 

Over time you start to see the same people. I did this more than a year ago. Not only did I make new friends, but I reconnected with people from my old gym before the pandemic. 

#7: Volunteer. 

It feels good AND you’ll meet people who have the same passions as you. 

#8 Develop existing relationships.

Reach out to a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Tell them you’ve been thinking about them and you miss them. Apologize for anything you need to (or heck, even just for letting life get too busy). Finally, suggest a time and date to get together and plan something to do. Don’t dump the planning on them. Follow-through, (make the reservation, order the tickets) it shows you’re serious about reconnecting. 

#9 Try therapy.

You may find that talking through your loneliness with a professional helps you uncover an underlying cause. You may find a way to combat any social anxiety and feelings of sadness. 

#10 Reach out to someone else who is lonely.

When you focus on making someone else feel better, it allows you to stop thinking about your loneliness. And you always feel better after helping someone out. 

Final Thoughts

Take it slow. Don’t expect to go from feeling lonely to suddenly having a jam-packed social calendar. You’ll risk burning yourself out and isolating yourself once more. Take small steps to increase your connections slowly.

Remember, loneliness is a sign that something needs to change. It’s not a sign that something is wrong with you. It’s a sign that you need to seek more connection, so banissh the self-criticism and get yourself out the door and spend meaningful time with others. 

It’s a strange thing because we are taught from childhood that we should apologize. “Say you’re sorry”, your parents told you.

But, what we didn’t learn is that apologies aren’t appropriate in every situation and can harm our sense of self-worth.

It’s a skill to use these powerful words when they’re necessary. And it’s a skill to be mindful when we’re misusing them and break the I’m sorry habit. When we do, our confidence and self-worth grows by leaps and bounds.

Here’s the truth off what happens when you misuse the words I’m sorry; it makes others feel you don’t feel good about yourself and actually reinforces your feelings of self-doubt.

Research described in the book You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation indicates that “excessive” apologizing — like apologizing when you really don’t need to — can make others feel you lack competence or confidence.

Here are the 4 Truths of the I’m Sorry Habit

Truth #1

Saying I’m sorry is your way of seeking reassurance.

I’m sorry if I talk too much.
I’m sorry by house is a mess.

This puts others on the spot to make you feel better. Notice how many times you say I’m sorry today. It’s exhausting and annoying for others to constantly reassure you.

If your messy house doesn’t bother YOU, that is all that matters. Love yourself enough to not need that validation from others.

Truth #2

Saying I’m sorry makes you and your needs smaller.

I’m sorry I’m so high maintenance.
I’m sorry I’m exhausted and can’t make it tonight.

When you apologize for your existence, you belittle your needs.

So, you were unable to meet up with a friend because you got sick and of course you said, “I’m sorry.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa!!!

As if being ill is some negative virtue.

Or maybe, when you’ve been overworked and just want to relax you apologized for needing your own space. In reality, your friends weren’t offended or disappointed with you at all.

Remember, you aren’t a mind-reader. So stop assuming you know what others are thinking.

And most likely, if a friend couldn’t hang out because of exhaustion, you would understand without an apology.

Truth #3

Saying I’m sorry is your way of people-pleasing.

I’m sorry I can’t make it.
I’m sorry I can’t donate to that cause.

When you apologize, you’re hoping someone says, “It’s okay.”

You don’t want to disappoint people. You want to help them. You want people to like you.

You don’t need to apologize when someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do. You don’t need to apologize for things you don’t have time to do, or attend, or accomplish, when other people ask. And you definitely don’t need to explain yourself. You can simply say “No” or “No thanks.”

According to psychologist Marsha M. Lineman, apologizing hinders us from building mutual respect. On your end, it is unhealthy to apologize for simply not wanting to do something or having a different opinion. Practicing the art of the unapologetic “No” will help you instill self-respect.

Remember, turning yourself into a doormat doesn’t help you one bit. Other people don’t learn to respect your time or your words. After all, how assertive does a no sound when you throw a bunch of sorries around it?

Truth #4

Saying I’m sorry gives your power away.

I’m sorry but I have a question.
I’m sorry but I see it differently.

This makes you appear weak. Don’t be sorry for needing something more. Maybe the person offering the original explanation wasn’t really clear. When you apologize you make yourself small or wrong. It’s not about placing blame.

If you need clarity on something, ask with confidence. Don’t preface it with “I’ve got a question.” It sounds like you’re asking for permission to ask the question. Simply, ask the question.

Practice asserting your position and staying strong. Don’t apologize when you are rejecting a proposal, disagreeing with an idea or simply standing your ground in a conversation.

How Do You Stop Apologizing?

Start saying thank you instead of I’m sorry.

Instead of I’m sorry I’m late. Say, Thank you for your patience.
Instead of I’m sorry I’m gluten free, say, Thank you for accommodating my order.

Saying thank you is how you take your power back. You’re acknowledging that you have needs and you appreciate people seeing them and helping you fulfill them. Once you start doing this, you’ll be surprised how much better you feel about yourself.

When Should You Apologize?

Saying you’re sorry when you’ve done something wrong? That’s different.

We all make mistakes. We all do things we need to apologize for: words, actions, omissions, failing to step up, step in, or show support.

In fact, admitting you’re wrong takes confidence and shows leadership.

If you’ve done something wrong, the first thing you should say is “I’m sorry.” The last thing you should do is add a disclaimer, like “But I was really mad because…” or “But I did think you were…” or include any statement in any way placing even the smallest amount of blame back on the other person.

Be certain that your apology is about them. There’s a huge difference between saying “I’m sorry you’re so sensitive” and “I’m sorry I upset you by saying X, Y. and Z.”

When you do something wrong you need to apologize.

Wrapping It Up

A lot of your apologies are unnecessary. Apologizing for your humanity, for getting sick, for being exhausted isn’t healthy. Be mindful and ask yourself if you’d want someone else to apologize in the same situation.

Motivation is a weird thing. Most of us feel like we either have tons of motivation or other times motivation is nowhere to be found and we are trapped in a spiral of procrastination.

There are two reasons why you can’t find motivation.

REASON #1: You’re waiting for motivation to magically find you.

One of the most surprising things about motivation is that it often comes after starting a task or taking action, not before.

Motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it.

Getting started even in very small ways, is a form of active inspiration that naturally produces motivation.

You’ve heard of Newton’s first law of Motion?

“Objets in motion stay in motion…”

Once a task has begun, it’s easier to continue moving it forward.

You don’t need much motivation one you’ve started a task. Nearly all of the friction in a task is at the beginning. After you start, you gain momentum and make progress. It is often easier to finish a task than it is to start it in the first place.

You don’t have to be motivated to get through the stuff you don’t feel like doing. You just need to start.

Stop thinking you have to be motivated to take any action. Pay the bills, send that email, go to the gym. You’re not going to be moved to do it. But, if you take one small step to start, the motivation will come.

At some point, it’s easier to change than to stay the same. It’s easier to take action and feel insecure working out than to sit on the couch disappointed in yourself. It’s easier to feel awkward doing that presentation than to get fired from your job.

Remember, every choice has a price. Somehow we cross a mental threshold – usually after weeks of procrastination and in the face of a deadline – and it becomes more painful to not do the work than to actually do it.

Bottom line:

Start. Take one small step and YOU create motivation. Stop waiting for motivation to magically appear.

And now, the second reason you can’t find motivation.

REASON #2: You look for external motivators.

Let’s look at the word motivation.

Mot – means to move.

What moves you to do what you do; to make sacrifices, to choose good over poor habits, to do it when it’s uncomfortable?

The foundation of YOUR motivation is understanding who you are and what you want.

Motivation is an inside job. You can only find it inside of yourself.

Don’t look externally for motivation. It won’t be there when you need it.

Looking at what someone else is doing may persuade you, may engage you, may get you going temporarily.

You can use what you see others doing to ask yourself, “How can I tap into that for myself?” This moves you to discover who you want to be and what you want.

Being inspired, encouraged and celebrated isn’t the same as sustaining internal motivation.

Looking outside of yourself, at others, for something that will sustain you and last is a set-up.

Constantly looking to other people to motivate you keeps you stuck in the cycle of disappointment. It’s now your job to figure out what you want, who you are and what it’s going to be that moves you ?

Bottom line:

You need to find your WHY.

Something has to move you to do the things you need and want to do. Ask yourself:

  • What does move me?
  • Why am I not moved to do this thing?
  • Do I believe that I’m not worthy of the thing I want?
  • Why is this important to me?
  • Who benefits from me doing this thing?
  • How will things be different once I do it?

When you do the work to discover your WHY or WHY’s, your motivation is always there for you. It’s internal and it’s yours to motivate you day after day.

So I leave you with this?

What moves you?

Where to Go From Here

If you’re looking for a way to move forward on something you’ve been putting of because you don’t feel ready, you’re afraid of failing or you doubt yourself at every turn, hop on the waitlist for my course so you can be the first to know when the doors open for enrollment.

UNDAUNTED: The Art of Taking Action Even If You Doubt Yourself

You think managing time is the struggle. But what if I told you that’s only one piece of the puzzle?

I know. You wan’t a quick time management trick.

But, there isn’t one.

I work with people who all too often think they have a time management problem… They say, ” Carlene, if I could just learn to block my time better then I would be a SUPERSTAR at what I do.”

And yes, that will probably work in the short term.

But life will happen and you will start to notice that you have another problem.

So what’s the answer????

You need to shift your focus from managing your time to expanding your capacity – in other words – your energy, be it physical, emotional, or mental energy.

This is the secret sauce to getting stuff done – focus on expanding your energy instead of managing your time.

Here are 4 Key Shifts to Make

Shift #1:

From: Time Management
What you plan to do within a certain amount to time.

To: Expanding Your Energy
The energy you use within a certain amount of time.

Shift #2:

From: Time Management
Deciding what priority requires your attention.

To: Expanding Your Energy
Choosing when each priority gets your attention based on your energy.

Shift #3:

From: Time Management
Using a structured process for completing tasks in controlled environment.

To: Expanding Your Energy
Being adaptable to complete tasks, even in unpredictable circumstances.

Shift #4:

From: Time Management
Working for efficiency.

To: Expanding Your Energy
Working for effectiveness.

If you want to expand your energy to be more productive with your time, you need to ask yourself:

Where do I have limited energy?
Where do I have a limited ability to handle situations?
Is it emotionally, physically, or mentally?

While time is a finite resource, energy works differently.

Every one of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors has an energy consequence.

Energy diminishes with both overuse and underuse, so it’s important to balance energy use with energy renewal.

Energy is a renewable resource, but only up to a certain point.

Scheduling every minute of free time to increase productivity may seem like a good use of time, but it doesn’t account for the need to replenish energy.

Some tasks also require more energy than others. High-energy tasks can’t be done productively when your energy is already eaten up by an already over scheduled day.

Have you ever had more than enough time to get your stuff done but because you lacked the energy to be effectively productive, you never finished?

That’s exactly why time management is not enough.

3 Specific Steps You Can Take to Expand Your Energy So You’re Performing at Your Best.

Step 1: Start by setting your boundaries

No one knows your energy limits better than you. By setting boundaries for yourself, you simultaneously protect your energy levels and motivate yourself to achieve your goals.

Create boundaries for how little or how much you want to accomplish in a specific day, depending on your priorities.

For example, let’s say you’re a therapist and your priority on a given day is to meet with patients. You get to decide how many therapy sessions to conduct in a single workday.

You may say it has to at least be one, but no more than six in a single workday.

Or, you could decide that you never hold sessions with patients on Fridays – you hold that day to get administrative work done.

Setting these boundaries for yourself can help you stay on-track while helping prevent burnout.

Keep in mind that you may need to adjust those boundaries over time.

For instance, you may find that only one or two therapy sessions a day is too little time to keep up with your patient-load, and you’ve found that you’re capable of increasing your maximum number of sessions per day without feeling burnt out.

On the other hand, if you set your boundary to eight sessions a day you may find it necessary to decrease your numbers.

Step 2: Include Rest and Recovery in Your Plans

When managing your energy, it’s important to thing about downtime. It shouldn’t be an afterthought. Instead, rest and recovery should be planned out so that they’re part of of your schedule.

While it’s true that recovery takes up valuable time that could be otherwise used to work, it’s an invaluable part of a routine for expanding your energy.

For example, I end my day with meditation. This is very new for me. But I’ve found that taking time to be still and intentional with my thoughts improves my sleep and gives me the energy I need to have a productive day tomorrow.

When you give yourself time to rest, you’ll renew your energy levels and become more productive when you’re back at work. You’ll also experience more positive emotions if you’re rested.

Be sure to add this rest and recovery time directly into your schedule. This is important if you tend to get distracted by work.

Treat your rest and recovery time just like you would a doctor’s appointment. Even if you’re running behind on other tasks, resist the temptation to work during your scheduled recovery time.

Step 3: Keep a journal of your energy levels.

Unlike time, energy isn’t a constant. Everyone has 24 hours in a singe day. But energy levels will vary from person to person and from day to dy. This true for emotional, physical and mental energy.

There are several factors that will influence how much energy you have. To help you better manage your energy and get more done, keep a journal of what energizes you and drains you. You can track the elements in your work and personal life. These can include:

  • How much sleep you get.
  • Your diet.
  • The frequency and length of your breaks
  • Who you spend your time with (some people suck the energy right out of us, others expand our energy)
  • Physical activity or lack thereof
  • Types of tasks you perform.
  • What gives you negative emotions. (managing negative emotions is a huge energy drain)

Keeping a journal will serve several purposes to help you manage your energy.

First, you’ll become more aware of what you can realistically accomplish, depending on what your day looks like.

Here’s an example. Let’s say teamwork takes up a lot of energy for you compared to working alone. After too long in a team meeting, you begin to have difficulty focusing.

If you have several tasks that require teamwork in your day, you’ll know that you need to schedule more breaks and take it easy for the rest of the day. This will make sure that you can be productive during your teamwork time.

Second, you can make lifestyle changes to maximize your energy levels. For example, if you find that doing exercise energizes you, then you can schedule more time to get a workout in every morning.

And if you discover that long. and infrequent breaks don’t work for you, you can take shorter, regular breaks instead.

Finally, keeping a journal can also help you keep a pulse on your core values. What do you really value and want to spend your energy on?

Wrapping it Up

When you start incorporating ways of expanding your energy into your day, you’ll be amazed at how well all those time management hacks that have had you so frustrated in the past will actually start working for you!

Is your planning system working for you? If not, check out my mini-course,

The Fail Proof Planning System

Whether you’re starting and growing a business, making a career change, starting a new relationship, writing a book, or any other goal, they all require risk, nerve and a lot of courage, before confidence ever shows up.

But you need more than the knowledge and the skills.

“Success in life is 80% psychology and 20% mechanics – what you do doesn’t matter if you aren’t in the right mindset.”

Tony Robbins

Remember your thoughts create feelings ➡️ feeling create actions ➡️ and actions create results.

You have to stop thinking about your past fears, failures, mistakes and embarrassments. And this is why it’s so hard to do that.

“You think 60,000 to 70,000 thoughts every day, and 90% of those thoughts are the same thoughts as the day before.”

Dr. Joe Dispenza

This statistic completely blew.my.mind because it really hones in on the fact that what you thought yesterday is what’s holding you back today.

The way we think is a habit. And we can change habits. We can change the way we think.

YOU have the power to change your trajectory simply by saying “stop” to the thousands of thoughts that come today that didn’t serve you yesterday.

Here are 3 mindset shifts to help you hit your goals.

#1. Move from “I’m a fraud and they’re gonna find me out, “ to “Feeling like an imposter is normal when I do something new. “

Imposter syndrome is a regular visitor. It never goes away. Use it as a way to remind yourself that you’re putting yourself out there – that you feel this way because you are acting courageously and doing something new even though you don’t have all the answers and you don’t feel ready. Don’t use it as an excuse to stop.

Stop believing everything you think. Here’s how:

Acknowledge your credibility and success.

What’s something you’ve accomplished in your life that makes you feel proud? Feel that, acknowledge that. You have a track record of success. When you acknowledge that it’s easier to NOT to believe everything you think.

Be aware of the stories you tell yourself.

If you’re stuck in the story that you’re not credible or you’re not that original or you’re not going to be successful, that’s exactly where you’ll stay.

If you look at the proof of your credibility and accomplishments, you can use that to reframe your story that you are in fact successful, credible, and unique. Then you’ll start to show up with confidence.

Get out of your head and into your heart.

It’s hard to think you’re a fraud if you believe in what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

If you’ve lost your WHY, revisit it now.

What was important about this goal when you started it? What excited you about it? Who are you serving? How will your life be different once you accomplish your goal?

Tap back into the heart of the matter and make the decision to move forward based on your WHY instead of the garbage thoughts of fear and self-doubt.

#2 Move from “I’ll just test the waters,” to “I’m going ALL IN even though I’m scared.”

It isn’t about making your first million or having a New York Times Best Seller right out of the gate. In the beginning it’s about you actually showing up and committing to playing a bigger game.

Go all in no matter how scared you are.

Playing small looks like – I’ll just send out a few emails or I’ll take a course on how to write a book, is only delaying your success – success that’s inevitable if you show up, if you do the work, if you put yourself out there and don’t give up.

Create weekly content, collaborate with others in your industry, create a habit to write every morning, invite that person to dinner.

It’s too easy to just sit on the sidelines. You may be doing enough to get by. But you’re not working on the big thing that could really move the needle.

So, stop making excuses.

Stop dabbling in your dreams.

Play full out.

#3 Move from “I gotta get it perfect,” to “Good is good enough.”

Stop overthinking everything and giving in to perfectionism.

Perfectionism is nothing more than procrastination. Yes, there are a million decisions to make related to your goal. You put off making any decisions because it’s all so overwhelming.

But remember, not making a decision is making a decision. You’ve made the choice to NOT try. To NOT go all in. To NOT move forward.

Here’s the underlying truth; making the decision isn’t the hard part. It’s the fear of the outcome, the fear of getting it wrong, the fear of anything less than the perfect right decision.

Here are a couple ways to move to this mindset of “Good is Good Enough.”

Become a Learner

Successful people aren’t perfect and they don’t always get it right. But they are learners.

You aren’t perfect and you have permission to not always be great, not always get it right, as long as you commit to being a learner.

Coach Yourself Through the Doubt

Ask yourself, if you did know what to do, what would you do?

Answer it, and then do it.!

It’s time to give yourself permission to do B+ work and take perfectionism off the table.

WRAPPING IT UP

Keep showing up. Your confidence will build over time.

Think about your first day on the new job you had. You didn’t know the systems, the people, or even where the bathroom was. But 6 months later, you solved a complicated problem, and you got a “well-done” from your boss. Things started to take shape.

And the same thing happens when you’re taking action on your goals. Once you start doing the stuff, you start figuring it out because you keep showing up.

Action and consistency will help create more confidence in you and your abilities to hit your goals.

Focus on the future you want and commit to taking the necessary steps to get there.

Is your planning system working for you? If not, check out my mini-course,

The Fail Proof Planning System