Losing Momentum…and Getting Back on Track

I get really psyched about a goal then lose momentum fairly quickly. Why does that happen and what can I do about that?

Human beings are pretty funny (as in peculiar as well as ha-ha) creatures. We often crave what we fear, and we also fear what we crave. What I find with both myself as well as my clients and the groups that I work with, that often as fast as 30 minutes after getting all excited about a new tool, goal, or possibility, the mind immediately goes to a problem, a fear, or just focuses on something else and gets distracted, quickly putting the kibosh on our shortly lived excitement.

Clients will often come to me with this complaint, and use it as fodder to beat themselves up further, as if experiencing a let down isn’t enough of a punishment, when it comes to one’s goals or dream. I almost always tell them (and remind myself when I’m in a similar situation) “Take a deep breath, and start treating your fears or resistance with the same love, you would treat a scared child who doesn’t know any better.” They often roll their eyes with a look like, “Oh god what’s next? Breaking a chorus of Kumbaya and other hippie anti-war songs from the 70’s?”

But here’s the thing, if we judge that part of us that is afraid the fear will continue to take over and we won’t be able to separate that aspect of self that is totally committed to the goal, and that part is just afraid.

So Step 1 is and always will be, breathe, take a breath and send love to that scared, resistant part, and if you do, it will always shift. Not always right away but eventually because when we have compassion for ourselves (that’s not the same as making excuses or being in denial) then we’re better able to break through the resistance.

Step II is to reconnect with what the dream or the goal is even if it doesn’t have the same fire as before. Remember we have a relationship with the dream, not just a dream, and relationships are not always fluid. Sometimes they’re grumpy, disconnected and not passionate. Other times they are heartfelt, joyful and creative. Still others it’s everything in between. Be flexible with where you are at with your specific dream.

Step three is to get support. Call a friend. I have an action buddy and several colleagues that I can call when I’m feeling gummed up and disconnected from my dream. Many of my coaching clients (especially the ones that are very proactive) will reach out and let me know what’s going on and ask for support and I welcome it.

Step Four is to take an action that furthers the dream. It could be small or large, but taking any action towards the dream, moves us closer and connects us with the energy and excitement of it. I was in a great workshop the other day, with Mark LeBlanc and I loved his “square meal, square deal Minneapolis” attitude when he said, “Don’t trust the process, trust the practice,” meaning when we create a specific practice of routines that involve actions on a regular basis towards our dreams, that’s when our dreams materialize.

So in summary, when you find yourself losing momentum towards a goal:

  1. Stop. Breathe. See that scared resistant part of you, as a scared child who doesn’t know any better and just send that part love.
  2. Reconnect with the goal and the reason it jazzes you up. For me, I will write a blog, practice a bit of a presentation or engage in some of the creativity around the project and be reminded, “Yes, that is why I love doing this,” almost immediately. Otherwise I get what I call, “creative amnesia.”
  3. Get support.  Work with a coach, or call a friend or colleague. Meditate for 10 minutes, whatever support looks like for you at this time in your life. Ask for what you need so you can best be supported.
  4. Take Action on the Dream- Again it could be a creative action to get the juices flowing but be honest with yourself and take an action that while accessible, stretches you a bit. One of the best actions I ever took as a speaker was a cold call to a Speaker’s Bureau even though I was scared and “didn’t feel ready.” Make sure to take the action with the pure goal of the joy of taking action rather than its specific outcome.

Lastly, welcome to the Club! The Club of Human Beings. You’re a card-carrying member, so yes this stuff is going to come up AND you have a choice at every moment to allow your feelings to dictate your life, or your commitment to what’s important–to be in the front seat of your Personal Power mobile.

I want to hear from you! What spoke to you about this blog? Let’s create a dialogue around this very important topic? What do you do when you lose momentum to get back on track?

Ending the Recovering Good Girl Syndrome (RGGS)

I see the RGGS wherever I go, and hear it from almost every female I know, but most of all I see it in myself. It’s the dynamic tension between this amazing powerful knowing in a woman who hungers for greatness and the other aspect of self who is afraid of making waves, hurting feelings, being “correct” or worst of all, being called the “B” (bitch) word in pursuit of this greatness. This greatness is a passion within her to really express herself, share her innate gifts, point of view, and make a difference in the world and the people around her, in whatever simple or grand way that feels right for her.

As a result she’s in a holding pattern, driving with the brakes on at worst, or the restless feeling that she’s not operating on full tilt. And guess what, the saddest thing is everyone loses. She loses because she isn’t able to access her full potential, the people around her loses because they don’t get the goodies that she has to offer in the same way, and the world loses because her brilliance doesn’t get unleashed to the level it can be. We love those brazen babes who go for it, the Bette Midlers, Lady Gagas, Gloria Steinems, or equally as important, the local heroines that may help out a local community center in such an important or simple way or just lead a very authentic life.

Having been through this Recovering Good Girl Syndrome in my own life and continue to do so on a daily basis, and having coached hundreds of people through their own process (and some Recovering Good Boy Syndromes as well), I am all too familiar with RGGS and know when I’m in it.

Luckily, I know how to move through it, and have created three Power Principles that I have found invaluable in overcoming it.

1) Respect and listen to what lights you up, and equally important what pisses you off

Our passions and our piss offs (yes I know that’s not a real word, I just Lois-ized it a bit) are the roadmap to our authentic self. This doesn’t mean you’re going to go on a rampage of self-expression annihilating everyone in your path, that’s just being irresponsible and cruel. One of the biggest symptoms of RGGS is that we either implode our own experiences (burying them in nicey-nicey rationalizations, make nice behaviors, or numb ourselves out with different substances, technology, etc. or ignore them totally) or explode and start BMWing (bitching, moaning and whining) but don’t do anything to really shift the pattern. The sheer courageous act of stopping, breathing and allowing yourself to get interested in your reactions, looking at it as an archeological dig to find the buried gold, is your goal.

2)     Ask yourself, “What can I learn about myself through this experience?”

Once you’ve started listening, now get curious. Get really interested in using this as an opportunity to learn about yourself. I often journal, meditate or call a dear friend who really knows me well, and who will be loving and supportive, but also challenge me to look at the greater lesson. Whatever modality or tools work for you are great. Some people write songs to express what’s going on for them but make sure to find a way that you can use these experiences to learn about yourself, in order to grow and develop as a human being.

Last month, I had a very strong reaction to something my colleague was doing. What started out as the green-eyed monster of envy, when I sifted through it, was a longing to get more comfortable with asking for help, but also honoring the importance of the role of integrity in my life that I felt was very much missing in this person’s business conduct. After years of “getting interested” I’m less scared or resistant then I used to be, and now see them as life’s larger classroom. So often our experiences have a “both are true” experience if we cut through our previous either/or thinking that pure reactivity often brings with it.

3)    Take one action that helps solidify and further this personal truth

One of my favorite Lois-isms is “Insight + Implementation = Incredible Results. Having this new insight or reminder for yourself is a great start, and a step in the right direction for overcoming the RGGS but unless it translates to an action, nothing will really shift in your life. It doesn’t have to be a big sweeping action, it can be a gentler softer one.

For many women, I find asking for help without apologizing for the inconvenience, giving tons of backstory of why they need the help is the only action they need to take. For others it may be a firm boundary set in a playful and simple manner. One former client of mine who was very successful but speechless when it came to entering the boy’s club at office meetings, found that taking a few deep breaths and adding, “I need to jump in here,” with a poise and self-assurance leveled the masses.

As women we get inundated with tons of messaging that undermine our power (and yes, of course men do as well) but that doesn’t mean we have to perpetuate the cycle. These three simple steps when done like most shampoo instructions inform us, “Open, apply generously, repeat often,” will make a huge difference in your life.

Stay tuned for my next week’s Ending the Recovering Good Girl Syndrome vlog on YouTube. Have a great week, and if you haven’t signed up for the “I Love Myself Project” free day of seminars, please do so!

How Learning to Love Myself Rocked My World

My eating disorder wasn’t killing me but the chronic focus on self-loathing was killing my spirit. At 26, I had a spiritual awakening that changed my life. I was locking the door to my apartment and as always, the negative self-talk I now call the “Itty Bitty Committee” was yapping away. “What if you remain 180 pounds for the rest of your life?” This time a loving voice chimed in, “Yes, what if you could never lose or gain another pound again? How would you live your life?” The shudder of truth rippled through my body.

I opened my door, put my scale in the hallway with a note, “Take this scale. It works. Just not for me.” I then wrote a Weight List: Things I will do “Once I’m Thin.”

1) Wear colors other than black
2) Audition whether I think I’m “ready” (code word for perfect)
3) Buy and wear a bathing suit
4) Flirt with guys

One by one these items tumbled out of my mind and on to the page, and one by one I did those things, and one by one, the excuses I was using to put my life on hold fell by the wayside. I lost 30 pounds and have kept it off ever since.

Did I have setbacks? Absolutely! Still dealing with the last 15 pounds? You bet ya! What permanently shifted was the need to punish myself with food.

This was a gift, to be nurtured and practiced on a daily basis. I have since created the 4 C’s to stay on track with self-love:

Curiosity-Shift from Criticism to Curiosity. Curiosity is expansive and invites healing. Criticism is contractive and invites more of the same.
When I’m hurting I stop, breathe, close my eyes, put my hand on my hurt, and see that hurt part as an upset child that needs compassion. Sometimes a simple “Ouch!” shifts my energy.
Creativity is the gateway to one’s imagination.
Reach out to others who are committed to cultivating self-love.

I have the honor of being part of a full day I Love Myself Event (virtually) with Joanna Lindenbaum on May 22nd. I hope you’ll join me. To learn more about her upcoming program and to register, please visit: http://www.soulfulcoach.com/ilovemyself2012.php