Do You Confuse Motion with Progress?

Why is it when you go to put stuff away the item never seems to end up, or stay, where it belongs? You definitely remember you had that item in your arms, piled high with other stuff, and yet, where-oh-where did it go?

The towels for the bathroom are nowhere near the shower when you step out. The linen cupboard crammed full of everything BUT towels. You shake your dripping wet head in amazement — How did the pile of bills and magazines end up in there?

And, where did the fresh, new bottle of cleaning spray go? It’s certainly not under the sink where it was supposed to be. Oh, but I did find the shampoo and nail polish I bought weeks ago and couldn’t find.

You know how it goes — you begin in one room, closet, or drawer, and before you know it, you’ve got the entire house in an uproar of clutter and piles. Nothing is where it is supposed to be, and every room you enter, you find more things that need to go elsewhere.

Like that junk drawer in the kitchen which has everything in it you didn’t know what to do with so you stuffed it in there. Batteries, rubber bands, pencils, hair clips, light bulbs, nail clippers, toothpicks, scotch tape, tools, recipes, warranties, and the list goes on. A mind numbing jumble of unrelated stuff.

Then you realize, as you spin round and round that every room is much like the junk drawer — a mind numbing jumble of unrelated stuff. And, nothing seems to be where it is supposed to be.

In fact, you don’t have a clue, any longer, what things need to go where. Your mind races with the craziness of how hard you work to keep up with it — and, the hours and hours you have already spent organizing, storing, tossing, or hiding it.

How did it get so out of control and unorganized so quickly? I’m pretty sure, you say to yourself, that I have been constantly putting things away or tossing them.

All that busyness and yet, so little to show for it.

Is it possible that you may have confused constant motion and busyness with true progress? Maybe you have made the same mistake many of us have, which is to assume that motion is equal to productive action.

It really is a common mistake and so easy to kid ourselves into believing we really are making progress.

How can you tell if you are? Ask yourself this one simple question — And, be honest, this isn’t a test — Is my destination getting any closer?

You might have to redefine what being productive really is and what it means to you. And, in doing so, consider doing only those things that have more of an impact on your predetermined outcome.

Which assumes you have decided, planned, and are clear on your outcome. But, what if you aren’t clear on that? Well, then, begin there. That would be your first productive action. To get crystal clear on what it is you want it to be or desire it to look like.

Beware … the minute you decide to focus and take productive action, you’ll most likely trip upon and experience these five saboteurs. They will definitely throw you off track.

 

Saboteur #1. Sedatives. Those things that numb you out. I’m not talking about what  might be your favorite drug of choice here, but all the other things that sedate. Activities like social media, television watching, talking on the telephone, playing games, or even reading a book. Notice which ones are your favorites and be alert when they crop up and steal your progress.

Saboteur #2. Bright Shiny Objects. Or, as my friend used to say, “Look, there’s a chicken!” In other words, anything that distracts and catches your attention which seems far more enlightening than what you are currently working upon. An example of this, when it comes to tidying up, is seeking out and buying that perfect container to help you organize. You haven’t even gotten clear on the outcome or begun to purge, and yet, off and running you go to the container store.

Saboteur #3. Dreamland. You spend hours and hours dreaming of what it will look like and never actually take productive action steps to get it. There hangs the vision board you created and yet, you are no closer to the vision upon it. Don’t get me wrong, dreaming and planning (and a vision board) is a necessary and most critical first step. However, at some point you need to take an action step to achieve it.

Saboteur #4. Information Seeker. You are driven to seek and gather more and more information or inspiration before you even begin. And, the gathering never ends. You take yet another class or workshop, read another ‘how-to’ book, or watch another video, AND you never take a single step closer to the outcome you desired.

Saboteur #5. Resistance. Every step of the way you encounter opposition, defiance, and roadblocks. That could be frustration, fatigue, anger, or other dramatic events that stop you. Most likely it will be your mind shouting at you, “This is taking way too long. I’ll never get it done. This is hopeless! This is way too hard.”

No matter which saboteur shows up —  most likely all five at some point or another — recognize it for what it is. Discomfort. Or, maybe even fear.

Unfortunately, there are no magic answers to keep away discomfort and fear. However, the best and most valuable guidance that I can give you to overcome the saboteurs, is what I was given to guide me. Two, simple ideas.

First — Get comfortable with uncomfortable. Anything worthwhile in life is going to press your comfort zone. Take a deep breath, acknowledge it feels downright awful, and keep on going.

Second — Do it afraid. When fear rears its ugly head, face it, deny it, and keep on diving in. Just like the boogeyman under the bed, seldom is it real.

And, in turn, as you chase away those saboteurs, you will experience how purposeful action is the best way to get rid of clutter and stay tidy.

What is Fun? Is there a magical answer?

Does time really fly when you’re having fun? 

Sure seems that way, doesn’t it? The joy, peacefulness, and passion grabs us and we’re in another zone — a happy zone with no connection to the world revolving around us, or the amount of time slipping by.

It is a great place to be, isn’t it? Our hearts and souls crave it. We race out the door at the end of the work day or week, ready to embrace this illusive thing we call fun.

We chase after it like a butterfly collector with his big, handy net — swooping and twirling to capture the beautiful energy.

Swoosh here. Twirl there. Hold the net just right and the fun will be captured and confined for us to enjoy.

funBut, what is fun?

When asked, most adults fumble for an answer — racking their brain for what they consider fun. There must be a magic answer, one that will make life easier, more light-hearted, and far less serious.

Whether in our minds, dreams, or reality, we ache for the joy we are meant to have. Our spirits remind us that it is our birthright.

Yet, when we make a list of what we believe would be fun, what usually pops forth is either a costly or time intensive endeavor. We sigh with discouragement when we realize we cannot afford it. We do not have the time or dollars to do it right now, or maybe ever.

And, the fun, as we defined it, is put on the back burner.

As one of my clients said to me about fun, “I’m scratching my head … last time I had fun? I think it was before I had kids!”

Could it be that we have defined fun in a way that sabotages it before we even begin? Could it be that we douse the spark before it even ignites?

I have helped many clients redefine this for themselves, as they bemoan the lack of joy, peace, and fun in their lives. They have narrowed down their day-to-day lives to a mind-numbing sameness, anxiously awaiting their few weeks of vacation, or, the escape into the weekend.

Only to face the mound of chores, bills, errands, and piles of stuff at home.

I wish I had a magic wand to help wave away the heaviness that shuts down their fun, joy, and happiness. A magical “fun wand” in which a simple swoosh of it would help the world embrace joy once again.

To embrace delight, bliss, and satisfaction without the worry or struggle on how to afford it — in time, energy, or money.

Here’s a little known secret … you have had that “fun wand” in your backpack of tricks all along. And, all you had to do was whip it out and use it.

Abracadabra — Poof!

A simple shift in how you see and define fun. With a wave of the wand, the elusiveness of fun disappears. In a puff of fairy dust, your predetermined belief of what fun MUST be is gone. You are forever released from the requirement that it has to be somewhere else besides where you are right now. And, what magically appears?

Your consciousness and beliefs change, in an instant, and you now know that fun is enjoying wherever you are and whatever you are doing … no matter how stupid, mindless, or without purpose it may seem.

Fun is purely and simply pleasure at doing something you want to do, anything that puts a smile on your face or warmth in your heart.

My client said it this way, as she waved her magic wand … “Fun is that which gives you pleasure and fills you up emotionally. It has no other purpose but to be fun, it’s just like play, there is nothing ulterior in playing, it’s just fun

Indeed it is AND, by the way, no money is required!

Put aside that proud badge of honor of being busy

Ask anyone, “Hey, what you been up to lately?” and I’ll guarantee the response will sound something like this,I’m so busy! I barely have time to breathe!” 

Or, maybe this, “There’s just not enough hours in the day!”

Of course, it is said in a rush, so as to punctuate the importance of their busyness. To convince those who may listen, that they have a full, accomplished life.

Being busy, these days, is worn as a badge of honor. It is something we have come to be quite proud of and at any opportunity, we readily brag about it to others. 

In fact, we have become so enamored with “being busy,” we worship it as if it is a religion. We are deeply devoted to our made up generally agreed upon beliefs and practices, and, we observe them as if they contain a moral code which governs all human affairs.

Nothing else is as important than being busy, no matter how stretched or exhausted we may become.

Each day, each moment, without question, we scramble from one thing to the next. We work longer and longer hours. We let things pile up undone, bills unpaid. We often ignore family and friends, giving minimal attention to our loved ones. Our self care has taken a backseat to everything else. And, at the end of a long day, we flop into bed exhausted, only to wake to the same chaotic, over-full, tightly packed schedule the next day. 

The insane thing is, we have come to believe, by doing so, we have fulfilled some sort of noble cause.

But, what if being busy is something you are not meant to be proud of? What if busyness is the major reason you do not have what you truly want or desire in life?

What if your money life suffers because of it, even if you make more? 

Believe it or not, there is a correlation between your overly busy lifestyle and your unsatisfactory money life. And, when you release some of your busyness, your money picture nicely shifts right along with it.

How is that possible? Here are seven major reasons why

Reason 1. When you are less busy, you are more present in the moment. You notice opportunities you would otherwise miss. And, you forego those things you used to do (or buy) in haste — those things that didn’t serve you.

Reason 2. When you are less busy, you recognize that motion is not necessarily progress. You then tend to prioritize more effectively and proceed with purpose.

Reason 3. When you are less busy, you notice what are real problems versus those that are not. You expend less energy on putting out fires that weren’t actually fires to begin with.

Reason 4. When you are less busy, you take better care of yourself. You get more sleep. You eat better. Your health improves. You hug more. 

Reason 5. When you are less busy, you take time to learn something new or gain a new skill — like simple, money management skills which then you have time to implement.

Reason 6. When you are less busy, you actually have time to think, plan, and do nothing! You allow time to contemplate life (or your naval) … whatever feels good in the moment. You allow it to unfold.

Reason 7. When you are less busy, you remember to dream.

You actually make room for whatever must take place for that dream to come true.

Money does respond to quiet, purposeful moments. Those moments in which you set your intentions. Those moments when your full attention is on what is truly important to you. 

Those moments in which you listen for the guidance from your soul which is always calling you to your higher purpose — That is, if you but take the time to hear the guidance.

If you do, you will then take action that is intentional, purposeful, and mindful, and in line with your purpose. Not busy, over-extended, or stretched which only leads to burnout and dissatisfaction.

And, by the way, there is nothing more dangerous to money than burnout and dissatisfaction. It is, after all, the reason many of you love to shop!

 

Must have Chocolate!

 

I know you’ve done it. You might as well admit it. There’s no need for secrets between us. I promise not to tell.

I know you did your best to ignore the urges. You even scoured your refrigerator and pantry for the best, and most healthy choices. Maybe you nibbled on a carrot or two or even some celery. I’m sure you even gave a fleeting thought to preparing a heart healthy salad.

Yet, even though you knew it wasn’t the best idea, you did it anyway.

You ate chocolate for dinner!

And, let’s be really honest — you found a way to justify it as a healthy choice, didn’t you? After all, hasn’t science proven that chocolate is chocked full of antioxidants which neutralize those pesky, inflammation causing, free radicals.

Darned good reason to eat chocolate, isn’t it? We certainly do not wish to end up with one of those nasty inflammatory diseases.

And, what is life without chocolate anyway?

At least that’s what I hear from most women I know.

So, why is it we feel so guilty when we eat it? If it’s good for us, why must we feel the need to justify it when we do?

Not to mention, isn’t it crazy how we eat everything else, but the kitchen sink, trying to be “good” versus eat the very thing we crave — the dang chocolate!

Which brings us to the fact that we have to make about 200 decisions each day just about food. What to eat or not. When’s the best time to eat. Ignore those hunger pangs or quick cram something in. Cook or eat out. Grocery shop or just eat that bag of chips and skip the shopping.

Crazy isn’t it? And, this is just about food! 

Not to mention all those other decisions we have to make … To spend or not spend. To do the laundry or go another day with the same underwear. To clear the piles or leave them for the weekend. To pay the bills or go watch television.

The daily decisions seem endless, from the mundane to the must do. Even those things we intentionally ignore or side-step — like Scarlett O’Hara, we say to ourselves, “I’ll think about that tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day!” Those, too, are decisions.

Before you get discouraged or overwhelmed, I do have a little secret to impart. They all have something in common, which when applied, would bring ease and clarity to the decisions you have to make. An essential ingredient that would help things go more smoothly.

That ingredient is PURPOSE.

Now, let’s not get this confused with YOUR life purpose. Although, knowing the reason you are on the planet would certainly clear up a lot of puzzling questions you may have about your life. 

What I am speaking to here is LIVING PURPOSEFULLY.

In other words, you get crystal clear on your reason, desire, want or need, and above all else, THAT comes first. Nothing else gets to shove it aside. Nothing else takes priority over it.

Sound simple? It is! And yet, we humans have a tendency to muddle it up. We talk ourselves out of it, makes excuses, or pretend we never wanted it in the first place. 

We do what is called “Upper Limiting” ourselves (Gay Hendricks, PhD. – The Big Leap) — which means as soon as you go beyond some artificial upper limit, a little voice inside you says: ‘You can’t possibly feel this good.’ So, you unwittingly find ways to feel bad and not do it.

You let something less important slip in … like eating chocolate for dinner or spending more money than you intended.

Purposeful living is a choice. One that you consciously make and mindfully tend. If you promised yourself you would eat a well-balanced dinner and not just chocolate (for whatever reason you deemed important to do so), then that’s what you do.

The same goes for purposeful spending — you only spend on that which supports your goal, dream, or desire. Spending elsewhere steals the outcome you said you wanted.

It really is quite simple. And, it does bring ease to every decision you must make. The hardest part will be to stick to it as that pesky self imposed, artificial upper limit does its best to derail you.

Oh, and by the way, you can have chocolate whenever you want it. If you want chocolate for dinner — go ahead and have it.

BUT do it on purpose. Be mindful and intentional about it. And, enjoy it to its fullest when you do.