“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
-T.S. Eliot *
1) How To End Up With What You Really Want This Year – Let’s take a little time together to make sure whatever goals, dreams, or changes you are pursuing this year, will deliver the results you really want.
2) Other Resources – The usual potpourri for you. This month I have included a link to a Stanford study that will help you boost your creativity, a link to Anderson Cooper’s report on his experience at a mindfulness weekend, and a free tool to help you see how well your website works on handheld devices.
3) Coach’s Corner – Finally, for my coaching colleagues, I have an announcement about January’s affordable practice development program, and a new offering for those of you needing more mentor hours for your ACC or PCC renewal. Finally, I also include a link to a video sharing some of my best tips on the most common mistakes coaches make on their websites.
How To End Up With What You Really Want This Year
Much of life we seem to be climbing some sort of ladder, focused on getting to the next level in our lives, careers, relationships, etc. Many times, after much effort we reach the top, only to find the ladder was on the wrong wall. All our effort did not deliver a lasting payoff in terms of happiness, success, prestige, security or whatever we were looking for when we started climbing. So a new round of climbing begins, and the years go by.
This new year, I invite you to take the time to step back and examine your goals, plans, assumptions, strategies, conditioning, current path, etc. to increase your chances of ending up with what you really want.
As you contemplate your big goal or desire for the new year, I suggest you take a few moments to ask yourself, “If I succeed, what will this give me?” And whatever the answer is, a promotion, more money, vibrant health, more love or enlightenment – ask yourself, “what will that give me”. Keep repeating this exercise until it become obvious that at the core of whatever you are seeking, be it love, money, control, peace, health, whatever – is the assumption that it will lead you to more happiness. Ultimately, you may find that it is indeed happiness that is the underlying goal in all our activities. It is the core intrinsic value for all of us. We would not be pursuing any goal that resulting in prolonged unhappiness.
So this year, please be sure that whatever you put your attention, time and effort into, will indeed deliver the desired payoff. And know there are countless generations of trial and error experience, some good science, and a lot of wisdom teachings that attempt to point us towards what really does make us happy – being more engaged in our lives and careers, feeling that our unique gifts are being used, and experiencing more meaning in our day to day lives.
What is going to deliver a lot more engagement and meaning to your life this year?
The Deeper Teaching
For thousands of years wise souls have noticed the inability of most human endeavors to deliver lasting happiness. In some traditions the habit of the agitated mind to constantly focus attention outward, struggling to avoid what we don’t want – and chase after some future moment, object or achievement – has been called samsara. (Sanskrit for “a wandering through”.) This striving to find happiness in some future set of circumstances, only leads to momentarily relief, and then the rapid return of new striving, and ongoing struggle. We confuse pleasure, novelty or excitement for happiness, and never seem to find enough of it “out there” in the world.
Real happiness is not a feeling. Feelings are relative, fickle and passing.
A teacher I greatly respect once told me that at any given time we humans are either pursuing something that we believe will make us happy, or we are just being happy. The choice seems to be doing in hopes of future happiness, or being happy right now.
I suggest most of us spend the majority of our adult lives with our attention focused outward on some activity to pursue happiness, and not enough time with our attention focused inward, simply being happy. Countless saints, sages and teachers from a multitude of traditions have taught that natural, indwelling, undisturbable happiness (heaven, nirvana, enlightenment, etc.) is not out there, but rather closer than close. Real happiness is our natural state. Meaning, when we are not busy thinking about how things need to change, pursing or resisting changing feelings, or lost in all the habitual activities in our daily routines, we can connect to our innate or indwelling happiness.
This is not an excited, ” I-am-king-of-the-world” type of happiness. It is not the type of happiness which is just a momentarily elevated, expanded or joyful experience for mind or body. Rather it is an enduring, underlying contentment; a combination of peace that you are not resisting what is actually happening in your life, gratitude for the beauty and mystery of existence, and love in a felt sense of connection with all of life. (Spoiler Alert – This does not imply you have to turn into a hyper-spiritual, totally passive milktoast or go out chasing some special experience, teacher or practice. Rather it’s simply about a shift in perspective and the discovery of the true nature of all experience.)
Perhaps this year, you can follow the invitation to spend less time lost in the constant stream of thoughts and feelings, and direct more attention back on itself, exploring the happiness that is always present, at the heart of who you are. It is a very old truth – seek, and you shall find.
“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery.
None but ourselves can free our mind.”
– Bob Marley
2) Other Resources
Wanting to access more of your creativity? Here is a Stanford study that suggests going for a walk can increase your creativity by as much as 60%.
For those of you who may have missed it, here is a link to a report Anderson Cooper did for 60 Minutes, on his experience (as a skeptic) at a mindfulness retreat. (You may have to wait through CBS’s annoying advertisements.)
It is estimated that over 50% of Google searches are not made on handheld devices. Unfortunately, most websites are designed for larger screens. So to see how well your website displays on a handheld, here is a link to a free tool offered by Search Engine Journal.
3) For My Fellow Coaches
Here are a few resources specifically for my coaching colleagues.
Needing More Clients?
If you are one of the thousands of coaches still trying to track down clients one at a time, and you want to get individualized, affordable and experienced support to develop a coaching business that suits your personality and attracts far more of your ideal clients – naturally, with high integrity – then you might want to check out this long-running, affordable, transformational program.
This will be the 21st edition of the program that has helped hundreds and hundreds of coaches. We are starting the 2015 edition shortly.
(Here is a new video that briefly describes the program.)
Needing More Mentoring Hours?
If you are applying or renewing your ACC or PCC credential with the International Coach Federation this year, and you need to accumulate 10 hours of working with a qualified Mentor, then you may be interested in this. Over the past year I have been contacted by many coaches attempting to accumulate more Mentor hours in an affordable way. This has motivated me to put together a program that is a combination of small group calls and individual mentoring with me that meets existing ICF guidelines and shares deeper teaching on the core competencies. In this program I draw extensively from positive and developmental psychology, neuroscience, mindfulness, myth and the great spiritual traditions. If you are interested please email me and I can tell you more.
Top Mistakes Coaches Make With Their Web Sites
Here is a video I put together to help you avoid some of the big mistakes that keep you from attracting more ideal clients via your website.