How to Address Your Negative Self-Talk in 2021!

Yes, we’re in pandemic part II and yes most of our “outer worlds” meaning staying put, masks, social distancing, and all that jazz will be pretty similar to Part I. It’s just the way it’ll be. Yes it’s a drag, but needs to be done. Not gloom and doom thinking but being real.

But what about our inner worlds, our beliefs, our aspirations, our goals, they can take us to new places of travel and expansion whether we chose to leave the front door for more than the basics or not.
That’s where the real gold is!

I set some juicy Q1 goals for myself both in my personal and professional life in addition to habits that I’d like to integrate into my life. Day 1 of my “work week” I witnessed myself failing miserably from what I set out to accomplish. Join the crowd!

But what I saw immediately that made the difference was to ask myself, “How am I talking to myself about myself….right now…in this minute?” “What am I saying?” I stopped. Took a breath. Always a good idea. Just witnessed with curiosity, not criticism. I heard the same ol same ol nonsense that I did in 2020.

But what I’m committed to changing is how much power I will give it, and how to shift my inner talk to a more empowering conversation. Humor always being front and center in my life, I discovered a long time ago when we make fun of the Itty Bitty Committee in our head, we lighten up, we lessen its power over us and we get creative to shift it.

That’s what prompted me to create my Smart Sexy TV series, empowerment meets humor. What I call Wayne Dyer meets Carol Burnett way of helping us to move forward.

Want to lighten up when it comes to your negative self-talk? Check out my episode “Having Fun with Your Itty Bitty Committee” to find out how to bring more humor and healing to your negative self-talk.

Spoiler Alert: Next week I’ll be sharing an exercise on how to let the Itty Bitty Committee know who’s in charge (hint: it ain’t them) and to embody the vision you want to create in your life.

I wish for you that 2021 be an extraordinary year for you to really step into your most audacious, authentic, and true selves, despite the seismic challenges we are going through, and live your life from that place.

Cause guess what?

Life is Short. Life is Precious. And the world is hungry for the one-of-a-kind gem that you are!

Committing to make some changes in your life so you can really thrive? Let’s tawk!

Book a 30-minute Complementary Discovery Call to help you do just that!

www.loisbarth.com

How to Give Thoughtful Creative Gifts that Don’t Break the Bank by Lois Barth

During this year of the pandemic, many of our gift-giving budgets have shrunk beyond recognition. It’s understandable when faced with financial challenges to swap out gift-giving for getting by. That being said, I have found the greatest gifts I’ve ever received have been small in the price tag department but large in meaning; simply because someone was paying attention.

My Mom, Edie, was the Queen of Acknowledgement so gift-giving was one of many ways she let people know she cared. I’ve followed her legacy and LOVE giving gifts to people in my life both personally and professionally that hold meaning and enriches their life; it truly warms my heart.

The key is simply- BE CREATIVE. PAY ATTENTION. LISTEN. TAKE ACTION. 

Exactly what you’d do with meeting with friends, family, clients, and in everyday life. Even with new clients that we don’t know, we can often find the “clues in the small talk,” that are important to them. We are all so distracted these days that when someone tunes in and sees us and offers us a gift that touches our hearts we feel so appreciative, at least, I certainly do.

I’m honored to be one of four speakers featured in this month’s karmaSpeaker article on Unique and Cost-Conscious Gift Ideas for Speakers to Give to Customers, https://www.karmaspeaker.com/unique-and-cost-conscious-gift-ideas-for-speakers-to-give-to-customers/ and while it’s geared towards the Speaker community it’s totally translatable to any other industry or just gift-giving in general.

What are some of the creative ways you give thoughtful gifts to the people in your life, I’d LOVE to know!

May this year you offer the greatest gift to your friends and family; your care and rapt attention, and may you receive the greatest gift, health, and safety! Many Holiday Blessings! Lois

Are You Self-Soothing or Self-Numbing? By Lois Barth

 

When it comes to stress, change, and challenging times, for the most part, as humans, we tend to fall into two categories – the self-soothing type – or the self-numbing type. For years, I was in the self-numbing club. I learned it at an early age. I remember my first trip to the beauty parlor….

The grainy black and white home movie of my first trip at 2 years old to get my bangs sawed-off tells it all. My mother is holding me like a Raggedy Anne doll with stuffing coming out of its sides. With every motion of the scissor coming at me, I let out a scream that sounds like a cross between Orca the Whale and a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Mom sticks a dark-colored lollipop into my mouth. I take it out and scream again. I crave the tenderness of a hug of reassurance, a gentle rocking motion sending a message of calmness to my spirit. But instead, I get another shove of the lollipop into my mouth, this time a tad harder. I cry, rant, protest, and scream. Kids are brilliant truth machines. They simply can’t not express their truth; especially about how they’re feeling. Most parents and caregivers, unfortunately, are less skilled at providing a space for them to do that and the ability to soothe them in a healthy and healing way.

My Mom, visibly stressed out, even in her camera-ready sweater girl outfit, complete with updo and stiletto heels, sticks the lollipop back into my mouth. We go back and forth about four times. Can’t say I’m not tenacious! But tenacity quickly gets traded in for resignation when nothing changes, my screams are silenced with a blob of sugar at the end of a stick. I stop looking for what I will never get. I shut my yapper, surrender and get that horrible 1-inch bang across the forehead look. That enough should account for 5 years of therapy!

I do not fault my Mom one bit; having to raise three kids while her albeit adoring and dedicated husband traveled fifty percent of the time and worked nights the remainder of the time, along with her having an emotionally abusive mother, left Mom with a nervous system that was rattled to the core. To say she gave better than she got, is a profound understatement.

While my siblings laugh about all the forced merriment of their early birthday parties, that is also part of our home movie as well, I sit, silent, having a front-row seat witnessing how early my self-numbing behavior began.

Food was and may always be my numbing drug of choice; even after having addressed my eating disorder that took me from 120 lbs to 98 lbs to 180 lbs in less than two years. Even after maintaining a 35 lb. weight loss for several decades, I still used food to fortress myself from any and all feelings and circumstances that I deemed too scary to feel or act upon. While it had been decades since I’ve been a member of the boxes and bags club, meaning outright binging, I still used food to take the “edge off,” when “it” all seemed too much to deal with.

Food, however, is not my only self-numbing Distraction DeJour; the list includes chronic worry, perseverating, mindless TV, internet, focusing on what others are doing versus what I should be doing, chronic busyness, confusion, procrastination, coming up with new ideas, without following through with previous projects, overthinking, undersleeping, focusing on helping others while not taking care of myself…the list is endless.

I use the word distraction very intentionally because while at the moment I hope to get a pass from what I have to feel or deal with, in truth, I am simply distracting myself from it. Whatever I’m hoping to avoid, It will inevitably show up after the brain fog of distraction is gone. The problem is I’ve unwittingly abandoned the very part of me that needs my attention, compassion, and support. All I’ve done is shove a metaphorical lollipop down its throat, and in doing so, the very part that of me that is hungering to be heard, withers, and chokes.

I would love to tell you how this lightning bolt realization caused me to never self-numb again, and that I still don’t take part in a little recreational eating now and then, or other Distraction DeJours, but that would be hiding behind a crumbling façade with no solid foundation to keep it standing.

What I will tell you, is that my daily commitment and imperfect practice to switch from self-numbing to self-soothing behavior is one of the most compassionate and profound acts of re-parenting I can do for myself.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all laundry list of how to self-soothe, my approach is two fold. When I feel overwhelmed or scared or filled with lots of complicated/conflicting feelings, not all of which are “negative ones,” I do my best to stop, to breathe, to really listen and honor how I’m feeling, actually naming my feelings out loud is very helpful, and take an action that brings me closer to my heart, my truth, and my body. That is my self-soothing act. It looks different each time.

Since I am an exquisitely/excruciatingly (depends upon the day or moment) sensitive yet very thick-skinned being, and as my friend calls it, an Emotional Ferrari (going from 0-120 mph in a New York minute) I must stop, so I can self-regulate in order to regain my perspective, reboot my system and move forward in my life.

These activities include but not limited to journaling, creative writing, working out at the gym, (when the gyms were open), a much needed nap, hot shower or long bath, dance class, crying, decluttering, long walks in nature, deep breathing, prayer, meditation, heartfelt talks with my friends where I just share where I’m at, affectionately call “Goddess Vents,” watching movies or reading articles that are catalysts for the feelings to bubble up inside me and come out. The list goes on.

I find that when I do have the willingness to tune in and then take one of those actions, my innate sense of resourcefulness and optimism return. I begin to trust myself more and more. When I defer to self-numbing behaviors, I leave the most creative, aware and often sacred parts of myself at the door.

Yesterday, I watched the you tube video of the police in Fayettesville, NC kneeling in solidarity to the protestors, and how that simple act of extraordinary courage and generosity, evoked so much healing for both parties. I teared up as I’m tearing up right now, just writing it. I was reminded that even in the midst of world strife, a single act of kindness, of truth, of vulnerability, can open up minds and hearts, even those who are in tremendous pain. Watching that, crying, and sharing it with others was by far my most important self-soothing activity I did for the day.

What are the ways you soothe your soul, and gets you back in your own skin, when you’re in pain or feeling scared or overwhelmed or despair?

It’s not always easy to opt for self-soothing when the feelings of anxiety seduce me to believe in a false urgency that in most cases, doesn’t really exist. It can feel like taking a cross-country trip blind-folded, with no map, or itinerary; while the instant gratification of self-numbing beckons me to sit on its warm fuzzy lap, right next door.

Fast forward to the pandemic. Given the challenges most people are going through between health scares, uncertainty, financial challenges, isolation, more responsibilities, and overall unrest in the world, the ability to self-soothe can feel even more difficult.

You may be in that category and fighting with me in your head. “I’m desperately trying not to lose my home and to feed my kids, and you’re talking about self-soothing being on the top of my list. Yeah right.”

I get it. I have tremendous empathy for what people are going through, and tremendous gratitude for what I have, I would, however, adamantly beg to differ. It is when our resources are feeling so depleted is when we need to actively seek self-soothing more than ever.

There are several days, where I have my own versions of the scissors coming at me, and wanting to go for the lollipop instead of doing the heavy lifting of feeling uncomfortable and scary feelings. And when I opt for “smart feet” which is about taking actions that are aligned with my priorities and goals, along with committing to a practice of self-soothing, I actually have more energy and feel greater optimism in my life.  The muscle of resiliency starts to increase and the desire to self-numb decrease.

So in Month #3 of the New Abnormal COVID-19 Life, I beg of you to opt for self-soothing versus self-numbing practices. Start small, but start. Celebrate each time you do, and just be compassionate (beating yourself up is the worst form of self-numbing) with yourself when you don’t.

Life is so short, so fleeting and so precious. And the one-of-a-kind gem that you already are, and always have been, is right there for you! Everytime you choosing self-soothing over self-numbing, you get to know that magnificient part of you that much more!

I’ve created a video on The 5C’s on Creating Resiliency During Really Challenging Times. https://youtu.be/YzybI13HfTA

Hope you find it helpful!

If you know of others in your life, who can really use this message right now, PLEASE forward it to them.

If you’re looking for more ways to soothe yourself versus numb out, and to be supported in reaching your goals, (yes even in the time of COVID-19) feel free to shoot me an email at lois@loisbarth.com

 

How to Change Your Mind with Grace Joy and Ease (or at the very least, not drive yourself crazy)!


We all have “crushes,” lots of them and I am NOT talking about romantic ones. Creative, friendship, or business crushes. If you’re like me or any of the 800 passionate clients I’ve had the good fortune to work with over the last 10 years, you are genuinely interested in people and have that entrepreneurial spirit running through your veins. You are in love with the magic of connection, ideas, and potential synergy. Plus, you don’t like to do things alone, for the most part, especially stuff you’re not great at. Add that with your propensity for brainstorming, connections, and partnership building and you having that urge to merge. Instant Biz BFF’s.

Maybe you’re at a women’s networking group and one of you is a mad scientist with website design and the other a biz strategist, and you say a giant “OMG! We have to create a project together!” and in that moment it feels like a great idea. You bond, you finish each other’s sentences, you even buy lipstick at the same Sephora counter. Or maybe you read someone’s post on how brilliant they are at SEO and the 17 million followers they generated overnight, with a boatload of just add water and watch the money rolling in testimonials, and you day dream about living the good life while doing good in the world! You get on the phone with the person and they not only massage all your biz pain points, they even bring the lemongrass scented oil that gets all the kinks out of them. They validate your frustrations and remind you what a rockstar with unlimited “potential” as a thought leader you are. You feel GOOD about this connection!

And when it works, it’s magical, effortless, and divine intervention doing its thing. You marvel at how easily it flowed into your life…..until, it doesn’t. You start to have mixed feelings, you see the red flags along the side of the road, and you’re going 80 mph into the Crush and Burn territory.

As women, we want to please, we don’t want to disappoint people, and we certainly don’t want to appear flaky. So it’s human that when we decide we need to question our decision, we start to beat ourselves up, feel guilty about committing too fast, and start second-guessing our instincts that say “run don’t walk”. But you bristle when you think that you “led them on” and rationalize, “they are basically such a nice person,” blah blah blah.

Been there, done that, got the chocolate stains on the T-Shirt to prove it; and so have so many of my clients have!

Sound familiar?

I call that being in the Crush and Burn Territory. Don’t worry, you can get out quick! And make sure you don’t keep doing it!

Here’s Seven Sassy Steps to Address Your Crush and Burn:

    1. Journal about Your Fears and Trepidation- I set pen to paper and all the recovering good girl b.s. starts to fall by the wayside and in its place, our truth emerges. Give yourself full 100% permission to let it rip; all the feelings, concerns, guilt, mixed feelings, just let them out on paper.
    2. Breathe- Take a few good deep breaths and congratulate yourself for being willing to be honest with yourself about what you fear and the feelings you’re having. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel. Sometimes just expressing our feelings provides such a cathartic relief.
    3. Reach out to 2-3 healthy, supportive people in your community who will give you a reality check and who know you-  Nothing’s more healing then getting support from an objective source who cares and whose only agenda is helping you make the right decision. Ask them if it’s a good time to share, and then clarify your concerns and feelings and, to the best of your ability, get really clear about the type of feedback you need.

      Questions like: “Hey , I know I often make a commitment and get all excited and then back out; do you sense that’s what’s going on here?” Or: “Hey, would you have had the same reaction if that person said such and such to you ?” Or: “Is there maybe more information I need? Better boundaries?”
    4. Be present with the feedback- Let your trusted transformational truth tellers share their uncensored feedback. Breathe, and feel it in your body. Does it ring true? Is it just their own perspective or does it resonate for you as well?
    5. Write down some options for next steps- When we feel trapped, we often go to a black and white, “gotta bolt” or “gotta bite the bullet” mode. In reality, there’s a whole place in between. Maybe there’s some questions to ask, or information to gather before powerfully choosing whether or not it’s a fit or fate to move on.

      Recently, I had a speaker colleague come to me seriously thinking of hiring a business developer to fast-track her business. They promised all kinds of things, like packing their schedule with speaking engagements, helping them with their website, and generating SEO. They had an impressive client list and an equally impressive price tag for their services; it was no small investment. They were impatient around jumpstarting their business and hungry to sign on the dotted line, but all of a sudden started to have mixed feelings. She shared her concerns and touted all the wonderful things this person said and how generous off the clock they had been thus far. Nothing in this vendor’s character had screamed charlatan at all, BUT, and there’s a giant but, my colleague didn’t ask enough questions and therefore didn’t have enough information. We chatted for 30 minutes and after she shared her concerns. I gave her a list of questions to ask this person and the best way to approach them. For example:

      “I love your energy and enthusiasm; have you ever worked with a speaker who was just starting out with next to no following?”
      “What have been the results? May I speak to that person?”
      “What is a realistic time frame where I will see results, based on your past performance?”
      “Can you show me a before and after of a website (blot out their names of course) where SEO led to speaking engagements?”
      “What will be the strategy or plan with me as your client?”

      My colleague called me back two weeks later, and offered to take me out to dinner for helping her vet this expert. The person got exceedingly defensive and accused her of not trusting the process, of being a control freak, and also pushed harder. The deal fell apart and she got her “non-refundable” deposit back; clearly the person didn’t want any trouble.
    6. Always start the conversation with curiosity and clarity- If you feel you’ve made a bad decision or are having mixed feelings, simply start with statements like, “While I really like your personality,” or “I see you do great work, but I am curious about a few things…..” and ask those questions. If you are sure that it’s not a right fit, you can simply say, “I’ve had some time to review and given the fact that right now my focus is (blah blah blah) I’m going to go in a different direction, but I really want to thank you for your time.” Remember, “no” is a complete sentence.
    7. Practice Preventative Measures to avoid Crush and Burn in the Future- Next time you find yourself so excited by a potential BFF biz connection (or even friendship), let the enthusiasm fly but DON’T make any commitments right off the top. PAUSE. Sleep on it. Make it bite sized. A simple pause and “Wow we have so much synergy, let me get your card or friend you on FB and let’s touch base next (whenever) and get to know each other better”.

      It’s so easy to get ahead of ourselves that we lose ourselves. But when we allow ourselves to enjoy the synergy of meeting a hopefully aligned like-minded person, we can trust that that same simpatico will still be there two or three days later, when the chocolate martinis have left your system and you can get a clearer idea of the different partnerships that are right for you. Enthusiasm and love of new ideas, people, and partnerships are wonderful, just slow it down a bit to give yourself the gift of discernment and powerfully choosing.

Thanks for reading this piece and feel free to pass it on to others you know will make a difference for them. If you wondering how to make some changes in your life, personally and professionally, or if you want to set up a complimentary (no pressure) 30 minute session to see if working together may be a fit, e-mail me at lois@loisbarth.com and in the subject field write: Let’s Tawk! and we’ll set up a time to speak.

Blame and Responsibility are a lot like Bread and Butter

I love this post by Seth Godinhttp://bit.ly/1nXtUFM

To me, it’s all about taking responsibility and the power of doing so.We live in a culture that conflates blame with responsibility and therefore we resist taking responsibility because we haven’t distinguished the difference.

 
My Lois-ism for that is: Blame and Responsibility are a lot like Bread and Butter, they’re sandwiched together, but they’re two totally different things.You may need to read it a few times before it STICKS. (Pun intended)

 
More about that in my upcoming book, The Courage to SPARKLE; The Audacious Girls’ Guide to Creating a Life that Lights You Up (September 2016)

Lessons from my Animal Mentor, Mr. Klybie

I’m at my friend Vicky’s home and Klybie, her Wonder Dog, has ants in his pants, he whimpers, barks and runs around a bit.
She smiles knowing exactly what he needs, and says to him, “Sing Klybie Sing,” and he literally sings out: http://on.fb.me/1UVZuOj When he’s done, he sits quietly and restfully back down in his doggie bed. She goes on to tell me that every night at roughly the same time, he has to howl/sing or else he gets “backed up” and starts getting restless.
He’s a Chihuahua and he’s in the wolf family, so it’s part of his DNA to howl.
“Singing/Howling” makes him SPARKLE, and not doing it, puts him on DIMMERS.
I’m fascinated by that because I can totally relate.
For me to SPARKLE, I must engage in a thought-provoking conversation with either a friend or an absolute stranger (one of my favorite hobbies), move, read, learn something, write, think creatively, express gratitude, distinguish a luscious life lesson, get enough sleep or engage in one of my MANY spiritual practices. I don’t do all of those every day, but I must do at least a few to feel connected with my SPARKLE.
That day Klybie was my Animal Mentor, teaching me that I must express myself in some form or another and when I don’t, I am on DIMMERS but when I do, I SPARKLE!
I’d love it if you watch my “Animal Mentor/Doggie interview” with Klybie: http://on.fb.me/1UVZuOj and tell me what makes you SPARKLE?
How will you connect with your Courage to SPARKLE in the week ahead?
How will you incorporate into in your week ahead?
I’d love to hear your comments below.
#SingOutSunday #CourageToSparkle

En-Spiration

Love the pure passion Gretchen has for reading: http://bit.ly/20AOpsW I have En-Spiration, for how much she reads. En-spiration is a Lois-isms,  En-Spiration: using Envy as a road map to Create a Life that Inspires You.  As far as my reading I love to read on the elliptical bike or any exercise equipment it helps me exercise my brain and body at the same time. Also when I hit my 10 page a day goal it may not sound like ALOT but it adds up to 12-18 books a year. Big change happens from taking small actions that are consistent with your goals. Another Lois-ism. More about both those of those Lois-isms in my upcoming book, Courage to Sparkle.

#CourageToSparkle #En-spiration

Common Sense…Uncommonly Practiced

They say social graces are having a comeback. I say they never left but have been dormant in their use.
This is part of a series I call: Common Sense…Uncommonly Practiced.
I find when I do them, I not only stand out, but feel more connected to my community around me and as a result, SPARKLE.

1) Say please when asking for something, it only takes one word, yet means a world of difference to someone else.
2) If you’re opening a door for someone and there’s a few other people behind them, keep it open, whether it’s a man or a woman. They really appreciate it.
3) Say hello in an elevator. No big conversation, it’s about recognizing the human being next do you. Makes you feel more connected in the world.
4) When you network, find something GENUINE to compliment the person on. It could be a tie, a dress, a piece of jewelry or if someone uses a great word
or has a terrific voice. People will appreciate it, and it offsets any nervousness on your part.
5) If somebody does something nice, write them a HANDWRITTEN card. Nobody gets any mail anymore and a personal note of thanks takes much more thought than an email.

The Courage to SPARKLE is about standing out, reflecting the light of who you are, and celebrating your multi-faceted self. It’s the little things in life, that make the biggest difference. I find that when I’m having a tough day, I just do a few “little” things and I go from Dimmers to Shimmers.

What are some of the Common Sense…Uncommonly Practiced things you do to reconnect you with your SPARKLE?
I’d love to hear them.

‪#‎CommonSenseUncommonlyPracticed‬ ‪#‎CourageToSparkle‬