driven questions

You Get What You Ask For

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“Enlarge the place of your tent; stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your pegs.  For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left.  And your descendants will possess nations, and they will resettle the desolate cities.”  Isaiah 54:2-3

I was told that 2014 is the year of expansion so I prayed, “Lord, enlarge my territory”.

The vision for my life was more than what I was experiencing.  I was depressed and disheartened. Each time I tried to make progress something or someone came along to distract or discourage me. Eventually, with back-to-back delays, I realized that if I did not do something soon discouragement would derail everything that I had worked so hard to accomplish.

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My dreams, goals, and plans were still there.  I was more than willing to step into new territory.

My expectations were high.  My heart wide open.  Yet, here I was at a dead-end.  Not sure what to do, where to turn, or how to move.

How had I come to this point?  When did I step off the road that was moving me towards success?  The peace I had once experienced was now replaced with chaos and turmoil.  I searched my memory and racked my brains to see what had caused me to make this detour. Even more importantly, how was I going to get though it?

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What or who had caused me to take one detour after another?  I wanted to move forward, but was not sure which direction to go or even how to start.  Each time I attempted to move the question arose, “What price are you willing to pay in order to move forward?”

One thing about expansion is that it requires you to move from a place of comfort and familiarity.  You have to leave behind what you know in order to step into what will at first be new and strange. Questions will fill your mind.  Doubt will rise up. Uncertainty will show itself.

Growth and expansion is often messy and chaotic.  Things do not always go according to your plan.  Deadlines are rarely met and delays often set us back.  But despite how it looks you must still continue with your plan.

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When you ask for something that involves change, you will get what you ask for.  What you have to remember is that despite great plans and good intentions obstacles will come your way. All you have to do is learn to pick yourself up after each setback.  Don’t give up because it hurts. Instead, keep your eyes on the prize.  Stay focused on your ultimate goal and take whatever steps you need to in order to get there.

I asked  for my territory to be enlarged.  The price that I was willing to pay — Proceed with Caution.  I got what I asked for.  How about you?

What have you asked for in this year of expansion? What cost are you willing to pay to achieve success?  If you have already begun the journey, what has been some of the challenges or setbacks you have faced?  How have you overcome those obstacles?  Please let us know.  It might help us to get moving towards our dreams a little bit quicker.

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What is this thing called courage?

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Courage is being stupid enough not to realize the danger
Involved to yourself
Smart enough to know you don’t have a choice,
But to take immediate action,
It’s a reflex action in the face of danger.
It’s something you have to do
And there is not enough time to wait
For another to make that decision

Jackie Logan, Pen-sanity

What does it take to be courageous? 

How do we move from wanting to run and hide to standing our ground and taking action?

Many times it all boils down to making a choice.

Let me share what I mean.

A few years ago I worked for a wonderful lady, Jean Taylor Jackson.  She was a trust and estates lawyer who, at that time, was one of the few female practitioners in this field.

One morning I arrived at work only to find her in a pool of blood.  Sometime during the previous evening or night, she had suffered an aneurysm.  She was lying in the kitchen, next to the stove.  A small pot had boiled dry on top of the stove, and the tiles of the floor gleamed brightly against her blood.  The raw smell of blood, mixed with the heat, was strong and repulsive.  What made things worse, I cannot stand the sight of blood, any blood.

I knew that within seconds I was going to get into a cold sweat, start heaving, and possibly vomit.  Although this wasn’t something I wanted to be confronted with first thing in the morning, I also knew that I had to deal with the situation.  I had to get medical help.  I also had to somehow reassure her that I was not going to leave her alone.

I closed my eyes and started to take long, deep breaths.  I also told myself to stay calm, to just deal with the immediate situation.  It was very difficult trying to ignore the sight and smell of the blood.  It quickly rose up to my nostrils.  The warm room only compounded the situation.

Things got worse when the paramedics had trouble lifting her onto the gurney.  To move her, the three of us had to lift the dead weight of the body.  It was hard.  She was heavy and the blood was now getting on my clothing and my hands.  Despite how I felt at that moment, I had to remain composed and focus on the problem at hand.

It took courage to get the situation under control so that it no longer provoked an emotional reaction within me.  It took even more courage when, a few days later, I was faced with the decision of whether to take this once beautiful, vibrant woman off life support.

You can choose to fear or choose not to fear.  You can exercise restraint or react without thought.  You can choose to focus on your limitations or choose to look at your strong points and work on improving them.  You can dwell on the bad or excel with the good.  It’s really up to you. 

Now it’s your turn to share.

What is the most courageous think you have ever done? How did you feel when you first started out? Was their anxiousness, fearfulness, trepidation or were you filled with anticipation and eager to do this thing you had never done before?

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This post is dedicated to Jackie Logan and Jean Taylor Jackson, two beautiful woman who departed this earth way too soon.

You Can Do It — Yes You Can

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Yuichiro Miura is an 80-year-old Japanese mountain climber.  He has had heart surgery four times.  Now he says he is heading to back to Mount Everest for his third ascent.  He has climbed the summit before in 2003 and 2008.  If he is successful, he will be the oldest person to reach the top. 

What an awesome bucket list challenge.  What a way to Kick Fear Now!  Mr. Miura, I know you will be successful.

“If you wish strongly, have courage and endurance, then you can get to the summit of your dream.”  Yuichiro Miura

Wishing and Hoping Does Not Bring Success

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Three days ago we all said “Good-bye” to 2012 and “Hello” to 2013.  Making resolutions are fine.  Putting together a bucket list is wonderful, but as Cheryl Pullins @iCoachWomen shared with us, “It might be a New Year, but if you brought old thinking, old habits and the same old stuff…it’s just another day.”

One such habit that many people sit around and do is hope that life will be different.  They spend much of their waking hours wishing, hoping and dreaming that someday their life will change.  Someday, Mr. Right or Ms. Perfect will step into my life.  Someday, I will land my dream job.  Someday, I will travel to another country, learn a new language, and meet new people.  Someday, I will stop working and start my own business, or write a book.  I think you get the picture.

The reality is that wishing and hoping does not bring success.  Without any action on our part there will be no materializing of what we desire.  In order for our dreams to become reality we must take action, any action, but preferably action that is based on a well thought out plan.  Let me give you an example based on my experience.

You all know by now that for as long as I can remember I limited myself from doing things because of unrealistic fear.  I dreaded speaking in front of an audience.  I feared being without enough money to take care of my children and myself.  I was afraid to share my writings with others in case they laughed at it or did not like it.  I dreaded making cold calls while I was a real estate agent.  In essence, I lived in my own world of doubts and fears.

Fortunately for me I woke up one day, actually it was more like every day for months. It dawned on me that life was going on without me.  All the things I dreamed of doing would be just that, dreams.  It was a hard fact to come to terms with, but when days turn into years and you are still in the same place, you know something must be done.

In my soon to be published book, Kick Fear to the Curb, I share with you five tried and lived steps that will take you from being fearful to fearless.  I spent years observing, researching, gathering information and later, counseling others. I know that change is possible.  I also know that the only way to get what you truly want is to face your fears.

Kick Fear teaches you how to do this by taking you through the process. It teaches you how to recognize and deal with unrealistic fear so that you can achieve the life you’ve always dreamed of living.  Taking action has taught me to be courageous and confident.  Taking action eventually led me to writing Kick Fear.

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What are some of the things that you want to do?  What old habit do you want to get rid of? What unrealistic fear do you want to face?  If you want 2013 to be your year of ACTION, then get ready to Kick Fear Now.

December is Decision Month

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Photograph by Just1Thought

“The roads we take are more important than the goals we announce.
Decisions determine destiny”. ~ Frederick Speakman

Many of us wait until January 1st to start putting together the list of the all the things we want to accomplish in the New Year.  Sometimes, with a wing and a prayer, we say to ourselves this is what I want to happen, not realizing that goals require plans and many times those plans require a lot of thought.

If you want to be successful in the goals you set down you have to put together a plan of action.  December is a good time to do this.  Despite all the hustle and chaos, decorations and trimmings, parties and  presents, there will also be plenty of time for quiet reflection.  So why not use this time wisely to think about what you want to accomplish in 2013.  The things you did not get to in 2012 are a good start.

Think about why you did not cross that one of your list.  For example, I did not climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.  Ask yourself why it did not happen.  In my case, despite my calculations and efforts, I was unable to put together the finances for this great task.  Nevertheless, I did not give up preparing and planning.  So now, in 2013 this goal goes back on the list, takes priority number and also challenges me to be more creative if I want to cross this item of the list.

December is decision month, for me at least.  I refuse to leave my destiny up to chance. Today, I take action because tomorrow is not promised to me.  I will look at the choices I have and make some good decisions. What about you?

Make that choice today

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Choices

Last week I picked up the September issue of Entrepreneur Magazine.  It’s a magazine that I have been reading for years mainly because it is filled with useful information for those of us who possess that entrepreneurial spirit.  I don’t normally read the editor’s piece but this time, for some reason, I was drawn to it.  I am glad I did because it inspired me to get busy and write this week’s blog.

Amy Cosper, Editor-in-Chief, shared a little of her personal story in what she called, “A defining moment” (Entrepreneur Magazine, September 2012).  She told us of the recent fire in High Park, northern Colorado, that burnt down her home.  Every single thing she owned or possessed was destroyed — gone forever.  The aftermath, as she described, “has been an intensely raw and emotional experience.”

A devastating experience such as this is what allows our emotions to run amok.  Suddenly, we are confronted by negative, debilitating feelings such as fear, doubt, anger, and sadness.  If left unchecked fear will stop you dead in your tracks at the moment in time of your bad experience.  Each time you try to move forward you are taken back to that one bad thing and all you can hear are negative voices telling you “don’t even try it.”  You see unrealistic fear uses past experiences as indicators of what your future experience will be.  But you and I both know this is not really the case.

Emotions are patterns of behaviors and physiological responses that produce an experience. Feelings are what accompany the behavior. When some external condition triggers our emotions, our reactions will cause corresponding intense feelings inside us. For example, I feel sad when a loved one is in pain and hurting.  I felt angry at the premature death of my brother due to cancer.  I feel happy when I hear my granddaughter laughing. The emotional behavior that fear produces can give rise to one of three responses: 1) avoid it at any cost, 2) stand up and fight, or 3) make a quick escape.  In other words, we can choose how we react to the situation.

I turn back to Amy Cosper’s article for some good advice on how to react. She writes,

“The bottom line is this: No matter what life tosses your way, do these things and do them in this order: Fall to your knees and cry (but not more than seven minutes), stop crying, dust yourself off, go buy some new clothes and start over.  Reintegrate.  Whatever your ashes are, emerge from them as a better version of yourself.”

You can choose to fear or choose not to fear. You can exercise restraint or react without thought. You can choose to focus on your limitations or choose to look at your strong points and work on improving them. You can dwell on the bad or excel with the good.

Are you ready to Kick Fear Now? Then make that choice today.

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Cosper, Amy C., Editor’s Note, A defining moment. Entrepreneur, p. 14, September 2012

Old Habits – Get Rid of Them

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If it is true that “old habits die hard,” then getting rid of your unrealistic fear habits is no different. Too often we fail to realize that the things we do on a continuous basis, be they good or bad, eventually become habits. We’ve already looked at the excuses that we always use, as well as the negative thoughts and self-talk, and continuously bringing up memories of the past. I don’t know about you but I used to spend an awful lot of time engaging in these activities. Getting unrealistic fear out of your life involves a lot of change. First, there needs to be a change in your communication; next a change in your posture; and then a change in your environment. Change, as we already know, will almost always trigger the fight-or-flight response.

Waldroop and Butler, authors of Maximum Success, in the chapter entitled “When Fear is in the Driver’s Seat”, state that a person exhibits the behavior pattern of a ‘pessimist-worrier’ if they are “terrified” of risk and change. This kind of person is only capable of seeing negativity, and will resist anything to do with change. The way to turn this behavior pattern around, Waldroop and Butler suggest, is to “make a regular practice of considering the positive aspect of the change—and the opportunities it presents—as well as the negative.”  It’s all about shifting your position, or changing your posture to focus on the exact opposite of what you constantly dwell on.

Kicking the habit of fear isn’t easy but I believe you’re up to the challenge. Here is what you do.

  • Stay focused on the goals you want to accomplish. Remember to spend time assessing the positive benefits that this accomplishment will bring you.
  •  Break your goals down into small, manageable actions. For example, as a new author, I focused on writing for at least two hours or more each day.
  • Each day, even if you don’t feel like doing it, execute one action. Trust me, there were many days that I was not in the mood to write, or there was nothing creative in me to say, but still I did what I had to do.
  • Don’t let anything or anyone distract you from finishing the action. Need I say more.
  • Congratulate yourself upon completion of that action. Not only will this boost your self-esteem and build confidence, but it will also move you closer to success.

Do you think you can follow these five steps? If the answer is yes, then you are on your way to forming good habits. So don’t waste anymore time. Kick Fear Now. Today you begin to change those habits of resistance.

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James Waldroop and Timothy Butler, Maximum Success: Changing the 12 Behavior Patterns that keep you from getting ahead, New York, NY: Currency/Doubleday, 2000