31 July 2007

Blocks to Living with Passion

In August at the Becoming a Woman of Purpose Meetup, I will be facilitating a 3-part discussion series called Blocks to Living with Passion. They will take place on three consecutive Saturday afternoons and we will discuss three things that hinder living a life of passion and purpose.

The first of the series is Overcoming Our Fears. Fears can grip us and keep us from living a life of passion. We will discuss several types of fears, including fear of failure and fears from the past.

The second of the series will be Overcoming Limiting Beliefs. Limiting beliefs are beliefs that hold you back, keeping you from living the life you are meant to live -- a life of passion. Examples of limiting beliefs are, "I'm not smart enough," "I don't have enough money," "Nothing ever works out for me." These thoughts become beliefs over time and hinder us from achieving success in business and in life.

The third of the series will be Overcoming Negativity. Negativity comes in many shapes and forms, including negative self talk and negative thinking. Negative thinking and negative talk creates a negative life. You know people who are always negative -- do you want to be around them? Then, ask the same question about your own negative behaviors.

In my coaching and counseling practice, nothing comes up more than these three issues. They are issues that remain with us, hindering our achievements in business and in life. Until we acknowledge them, assess them and address them, we will remain slaves to them; not moving forward in life and living a life devoid of passion and purpose.

These issues are part of the Life Purpose Building Blocks to Success that every young woman should receive when she reaches puberty. We will all have to deal with fears, negativity and limiting beliefs at some point in our journeys, yet knowing how to detect when they are crippling your life and then knowing how to detonate these time bombs will give you the power to create a life of peace, passion, purpose and prosperity.

Check out our Meetup calendar for more details of this important discussion series.

Live life with passion,
Coach Carolyn

28 July 2007

Discovering Your Passion!

This month's Becoming a Woman of Purpose Meetup gathering focused on discovering our passions. The women were amazing, as usual. In addition to passion and purpose, we talked about negative thoughts, limiting beliefs, and staying focused on our goals. Nothing discourages passion faster than negativity and fears. As women, we have the tendency to beat ourselves up because we feel we are not doing or being something we think we should do and be. But I tell all women that when you beat yourself up, please use a feather.

One of the women, Sherri, shared a wonderful tip that I just had to pass on to all the Purposeful Divas. She said to create a "Self Care Menu." Like a regular menu in a restaurant, put items on that are about caring and pampering oneself. Because, as Nina shared, when we are in that yucky space, we cannot think clearly, so having this is on hand is a great way to take care of oneself. And Sherri says make it pretty, so be creative.

So what kind of items can go on your menu?
  • A day at a spa
  • A walk on the beach
  • Reading a chapter of a favorite novel
  • Taking a bubble bath
  • Listening to favorite music
  • A manicure/pedicure
  • Seeing a movie -- alone or with a friend

The list is endless. And the list is yours. Place items in your menu that you are passionate about. When you create those passion moments, more moments will gravitate towards you. Like begets like. Passion begets more passion.

Also, one of my all time favorite things is a gratitude journal. Every evening, I write down three to five things that I am grateful for that day. I end my day on a positive note and I keep the negativity away. We tend to beat ourselves up at the end of the day about the things we should have done or should have said. Stop shoulding all over yourself!

Learn to practice random acts of self care. Create that menu and start that gratitude journal. Learn to take the time to listen to your inner child. What is she telling you? What is she asking you for? Would you deny her?

Taking time out to discover your passion creates a life of purpose and peace. And if you have lots of things that you are passionate about, do a little sifting. The wheat will separate from the chaff. Your true passion will remain when all others have faded away.

So I am off to create my menu. I am so excited about that! Thank you, Sherri for a fabulous creative tip. And thanks to all the women who shared their hearts, passions and light today.

Until next time, let your lights shine and live with passion!
Coach Carolyn

27 July 2007

Positivity and Living on Purpose

It is not difficult to tell the people who are living a life of passion and purpose. They are the ones with the inner glow -- that aura of positive harmony and balance. When we are living a life of passion, we cannot help but exude that ray of positivity. Yet, the feelings are mutual. When we live in a state of positivity, passion follows.

Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns, and many bends in the road. Yet, unless we journey through those bends, we will not learn and grow. And when we are going through those dark paths, it can be very difficult to maintain a positive attitude. We may want to scream, throw things, and even hit someone. But doing this only creates more darkness and the light gets further away. To move along the path toward the light, we must become light. Light attracts light. And when we make the conscious choice to be light, even when the darkness screams loudest, then we can live in light.

One way to combat the darkness of our thoughts and release the light is to get ourselves off our minds. It is easy to disappear down in the abyss of negative thinking. And when things are not going our way, we become negative -- blaming and flaming against anyone who crosses our path. It is a defense but a very destructive one. When confronted by these negative gremlins, just think, "What is my part in this?" Acknowledge your part, then release it and move on. To stay in the abyss is not self-serving.

One of the keys to living a life of passion and purpose is to keep our thinking pure and positive. Passion and negativity cannot occupy the same space. Adapting an attitude of gratitude is a great way to keep the mind pure and positive. When thinking of all the things that we can be grateful for, we create an awareness of love. When we are grateful, we recognize our own light; a light that we miss when we are in the darkness of negative thinking.

A Nigerian proverb says that in giving thanks for a little, you will find a lot. A little light dispells the darkness. So try a little positivity and see how bright your world can become.

This post is part of the The Power of Positive Thinking Group Writing Project organized by Kirsten Harrell of the Think Positive! Blog. Thanks, Kristen for this wonderful effort.

Live positively, on purpose!
Coach Carolyn

25 July 2007

Entitlement vs. Gratitude

I have the wonderful pleasure of communicating online with women in different parts of the world. The beauty of the Internet. I have stated before that my purpose in life is to equip, empower and encourage women to be amazing spirit women living lives of passion, prosperity and peace.

I have been given many opportunities to be encouraged by fabulous women, and for this I am humbly grateful. This is what fuels my passion to encourage other women, knowing I have been given the fire for my torch to pass on. And I do pass it on. I am honored to be given opportunities to create opportunities for women to become all they were created to be. I know we are all busy. But there is not one of us who has the purpose in life to be busy. If we were truly living our purpose, busyness wouldn't enter into the equation. Be are called to be fruitful and productive, not merely busy.

So this leads to my moment of being perplexed. I hear from women over and over and over again about not having the opportunities to network, get support, talk about things relevant to living a passionate life as a woman. I can't have this argument anymore because I have been given the charge to create these moments for women. But women do not take advantage of the opportunities. Again, I know we are all busy. But we are also called to set priorities. My priority is being the best me I can be. Without that, all bets are off.

When I speak with women in Africa, there is such a deep appreciation of any small opportunity because opportunities are not just around the corner for them. So they will avail themselves of them and are extremely grateful for them. I find women in America, and of course, not all women, but there is this sense of entitlement and expectation; more so that gratitude.

Oprah was once asked why she gave to African children and not to American children. Her answer was simple, yet profound. She said American children have more opportunities here. She is creating opportunities where there were none. And because of this, the people are grateful. They don't feel like they are owed something because of their plight.

So where am I going with this? Perhaps no where. Perhaps now here. I'd love to have your comments.

Live with gratitude,
Coach Carolyn

23 July 2007

Living Green on Purpose

Unless you have been away from the planet for awhile, I am sure you are aware of the green movement -- the effort to create a more eco-friendly environment. This movement has many different layers, from recycling to carpooling to growing things. This move was brought to a new level with An Inconvenient Truth, former Vice President Al Gore's award-winning documentary about global warming.

Living on purpose is about holistic living -- mind, body and spirit. And this involves our global home. When we do not take care of our health, parts of our bodies begin to whither. When we do not keep our minds sharp and entertained, slowly we lose our emotional and mental acumen. And so it is with our planet. Unwittingly, we are slowly destroying our global home. It is very easy to say this is not my responsibility. Ah, but you see, it is! It is ALL of our responsibility.

Some of us are complete greenies! Some of us have never heard the term. Okay, maybe I made it up, but you get my point. Ignorance does not exempt you of responsibility. So get in the know! Three little words that I have heard since I was a child: Reduce, recycle, reuse. Not difficult at all. Take one a day, like a multi-vitamin. It is like any muscle, when you do not use it, it atrophies. Frequent and constant use will strengthen and become a habit. Then it will become second nature.

Start small. Use a mug instead of Styrofoam cups. Run your dishwasher when it is full. Throw cans and bottles in proper receptacles. Use rechargeable batteries. Reuse grocery bags. We often throw things away that we think are no longer useful. Do we do that with people? Of course not. We think of other ways to be of use. Purpose has no expiration dates.

So, think of ways to reuse the things that no longer seem usable. I would be interested in your comments and ideas.

Live green on purpose,
Coach Carolyn

20 July 2007

Purposeful Thought for the Weekend

Do we mindfully and purposefully practice meditation?

"We should be able to bring the practice of meditation into our daily lives. We need to discuss among ourselves how to do it.

  • Do you practice breathing between phone calls?
  • Do you practice smiling while cutting carrots?
  • Do you practice relaxation after hard hours of work?

These are practical questions. If you know how to apply meditation to dinner time, leisure time, sleeping time, it will penetrate your daily life, and it will also have a tremendous effect on social concerns."

From Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life by Thich Nhat Hanh

Live mindfully,
Coach Carolyn

18 July 2007

Are You Living Your Purpose?

“Many people have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” ~ Helen Keller

So many women I come in contact with, clients, in workshops, in my classes, in my speaking engagements -- ask the same question: What is my purpose? The first part of the answer is I have no idea what your purpose is! However, if you really want to know, I can help you find out. So often, we think of our purpose as our careers or our jobs. This is not the case.

When I speak of purpose, I am speaking of that one divine assignment that only you came to this universe to accomplish. It doesn't matter how you live out that purpose, as long as you are fulfilling your purpose.

Author and speaker Matthew Kelly says that your purpose is to be the best version of yourself. This is certainly true. When you are truly living a life on purpose, your authentic self shines. Not the false self that we tend to show to the world when we are in people-pleasing mode. But when we are comfortable with every aspect of our lives, even when things are going crappy, we can still say, "Well done!"

My purpose is to equip, empower, and encourage women going from a life of adversity and transition to a life of peace, passion, purpose, and prosperity. This comes so naturally for me, it is effortless. I don't have to think about doing it -- I just do it, wherever I go. Somehow, the Divine Spirit puts the words that are needed into my mouth. There are various ways I choose to make that purpose manifest in my life: I coach, I counsel, I teach, I speak, I share stories, I sing, I write, the list can go on. But in all, I must live out that purpose.

When I am not living my divine purpose, I feel a sense of lack and want. If I were not allowed to do what I do, pieces of me would simply wither and die inside. I know this because before I began living out my purpose, I had the j-o-b that nearly killed me. I was miserable. I was good at the job, and my superiors loved me and my work, but I was dying because it wasn't fulfilling my divine call. Yet, when I would get the opportunity to minister to women, I was elated.

So, my purposeful question for you is: "Whose life are you living? And, "If not now, when?

Live life to the full, starting now!
Coach Carolyn

16 July 2007

On Purpose Dating

I recently had an interesting conversation with a young man frustrated by his efforts to meet and date women. His approach was with the end in mind; which in some respects would be fine. However, there was no beginning. He was in for the kill and forget about the formalities. Now, I know that we live in a drive-thru, fast-food, want-it-yesterday society. I am not oblivious to this fact. Yet, when it comes to dating, I think we should take things just a little bit slower.

This young man, who is trying to arrange a date online, wondered why the woman in question was not forthcoming about her phone number. I said to him that women just don't arbitrarily give out their phone numbers to strangers, especially online. The guy could be a weirdo. Or worse, not a guy at all! But, like, some geek from another galaxy who has never even heard of an iPod. Perish the thought! I date a guy who doesn't even own a cell phone. But that's another story!

Anyway, I tried to explain about establishing a "e-relationship" first where he shows an interest in the woman and can get to know one another, as far as possible, online. Somehow, he couldn't, or wouldn't hear this. Yet, he was digging my advice. He asked if I was a marriage counselor. I said close, a grief counselor! It's all a matter of perspective!

So, ladies! My on purpose question to you is: Would you give this guy your phone number, online; and under what circumstances?

Let me know what you think about this issue. Online dating is very popular; and there are as many horror stories as there are success stories. It's all about what you bring to the party. Are you being authentic? What are you really looking for in a relationship? Are you willing to give back the same?

Hit the comment button and let me know what you think. By the way, this conversation leaks into the Meetup discussions. Well because it's a part of our whole self.

Keep on keeping on purpose!

Coach Carolyn

13 July 2007

The Third Option

"If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise." ~ Robert Fritz

A life lived on purpose is a life free of compromise. One thing we all have is the gift of choice. It is a gift because think of a time when you were not allowed to exercise your free choice. Or, thing of people in oppressive situations who are not able to choice a different or better option.

We tend to take this gift for granted. We tend to allow our circumstances to dictate our decisions. We allow whatever happens to us to determine our day to day choices. But this isn't choice at all; it is compromise. We are settling for the least painful, least demanding option. We also tend not to exercise our creativity when it comes to making choices. We go with the safest choice, or the choice that is right before us, instead of thinking about the third option.

I heard a lovely saying: When there are two options to choose from, always choose the third option. I absolutely love that! That means that we definitely have the right and gift to look beyond what is there before us. I have always lived my life as an extremist. I would either choose A or Z, black or white, cold or hot, day or night; there was never a middle ground for me. I only saw the two extremes.

Until tragedy struck, then I was forced to see what was in the middle of the road, not just on the extreme edges. I still tend toward extreme thinking, but now I have the awareness that this is a leaning of mine, so I can back up and re-think the situation, knowing I have a third option.

Live passionately, choose the third option!
Coach Carolyn

11 July 2007

Going Within

To get in touch with your passions and your purpose, you must take the time to go within and listen. We have a very difficult time "unbusying" ourselves to just sit and be with ourselves. We must be doing, taking care of someone or something, schlepping, going, coming. How are we ever going to really know what we need and want unless we take the time to truly find out? This passage from Susan Hanshaw's Sanctuary for Change blog says it all:

"Give yourself quiet time to listen to your inner voice. Whenever you find yourself alone, reject the tendency to busy yourself. When you’re driving alone in your car, turn off the music and pay attention to what is going on inside of you. When you’re in a waiting room, don’t distract yourself with a magazine or newspaper. Just close your eyes and turn within. Don’t get hung up worrying about what other people are going to think. Get to know your inner voice. What does it dream about? What ideas might it have about you that you may be too afraid to share with anyone else? Give this voice and its instincts credibility and strive to follow it."

I do a LOT during the day. But one thing I can say is that my busyness creates productivity, passion, and purpose. I also take the time to just be. I cannot do all the things I do and not have time for going within. Clients and friends say that I make them tired by all the things I do. But I also share my being time, my quiet time, the time I take to just listen to what is going on inside of me.

Sometimes it is not comfortable to listen to my inner child -- sometimes she screams and has tantrums. But she is always fully heard. And when she wants to just play, I let her. I have gotten over feeling guilty about taking play time. It does not serve me. It does serve me to create some self care space within my busyness.

Take time to go within and listen,
Coach Carolyn

09 July 2007

Creating a Purposeful Reality

"I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration; I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming."
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

What do you continuously focus you mind on? What thoughts consistently invade your brain? And do you set up shop there, or do you consciously choose to discriminate?

Goethe's statement is perfect for me today. I have been having a one-person pity party. You know the kind -- Why aren't I...? I should be.... Yada yada yada! Blah blah blah! Then I read this quote. I made the conscious choice to believe and receive.

There are going to be those days when we are just in that funk; that place of darkness; that seemingly bottomless pit. My advice is to acknowledge that place. Ask yourself some tough questions. "What is this feeling all about?" "What's really going on that I don't want to face?" "What am I to learn from this place of darkness?" Then realize and receive the following truths:
  • I have been given all that I need to do what I came to the universe to do.
  • I am more than enough.
  • Someone else's opinion of me is none of my business.
  • I am a uniquely created expression of the Divine.

That's a start. Sometimes, we need to receive this several times a day. It took a lifetime of conditioning to create the negativity; so it will take time to re-condition. Don't give up. Create an affirmation journal, if you need to. If negative thoughts and limiting beliefs are plaguing you, first dump them in a journal or notebook; then create a factual counter-statement for each of them.

For example, my negative thought: I am not contributing to the good of the universe. I am taking up space. (Yes, this actually went on in my head this past weekend)

My factual counter-statement: I am creating the space to help women to find their passions and purpose after overcoming a deep life change or problem.

Replace the negative with the truth. If your truth is still negative, then you must ask yourself some more questions. Feel free to contact me if you need help in this area. We are women of passion and purpose, creating spaces of wholeness and wellness, wherever we go.

Live passionately and prosper!

Coach Carolyn

06 July 2007

Listening with Purpose

In our daily lives, we are more hurried and busier than ever. Since the age of technology, life was to be more simpler and with more ease. Instead the opposite is the fact. Because of this hurried existence, we fail to take time to just sit and be. But I have found more and more people, women especially, not knowing what they are passionate about, not knowing what their purpose is, thus giving them no inner peace.

I have patterned my life in such a rhythm that without a certain amount of self-care, I cannot function properly. One of the self-care tools I utilize constantly is listening. Listening to the Divine, listening to others, and listening to self. Without this tool, I could not do what I do. To coach and counsel, one has to be in tuned with the whisperings of the Spirit and self -- in order to listen to others.

Listening is not a passive act you do while waiting for your turn to speak. Listening is a skill and an art; sadly a lost art. Deep and active listening involves not just the ears, but the entire body, including the heart. When you have truly listened to someone, you can feel it. You are drained but energized at the same time.

But harder than listening to someone else, is being still and listening to what out own inner voice has to say. To take the time and sit in stillness is absolute torture to some people. But start with just ten minutes. Use commute time, or waiting in a line time. These are opportunities for listening. Don't just stand and complain, create an A-Z gratitude list while you are waiting. Ask yourself a question about something that you are dealing with in your life. Call to mind an old friend that you haven't seen or heard from in a while. Send them a silent blessing.

Listening is also a wonderful time to minister to those far-away loved ones. Send silent blessings and warm thoughts -- then follow up with a hand written thinking of you note card. You'd be amazed what comes up inside when you take the time to just be still.

Sitting still has helped me create my workshops, writings, lectures, and classes. My inner child knows what she wants to play and she lets me know it too. Get in touch with your inner child. Let him or her out for an hour a day and listen to what wonders he or she wants to share with you.

In peace and stillness,
Coach Carolyn

02 July 2007

Living on Purpose with Apple

I must applaud Apple Computers for their innovation and savvy techno-know how. I myself cannot live without my iPod. (The only Apple gadget I own) But I am not one to run out and buy because it is there to buy. It took me a while to purchase my first iPod, the mini. Then to upgrade to the 5th Generation Video version. Why did I upgrade? Because the mini could not hold all my audiobooks. I have over 100 audiobooks on the subjects I teach and coach -- life on purpose, leadership, spirituality, building relationships.

What's my point here? My point is that because I have an iPod, I also have the iTunes software to go with it. And because of the iPhone, Apple updated the iTunes software to accommodate the iPhone. And that is where the chaos began. Long story still long: I had to delete the updated version of iTunes (7.3), and reinstall the last version, where there were no glitches. This took all of two days to figure out the problem, find out the solution, then implement the solution. Luckily, I am a patient and purposeful woman!

Living life on purpose means waiting patiently. I had chaos and didn't even buy anything! Imagine if I had stood in those three-day lines and purchased the iPhone. It would have been a mess. Once the bugs are ironed out, then perhaps, I will need an iPhone. Today, I can wait.

Part of the lessons I have learned during my journey is that blessings will come, but not in my timing; because my timing may not be the right timing. I may need to learn something and not be ready for the blessing. The Divine wants to bless us. But we may be unprepared for certain experiences and not ready for the ride. Small children are not allowed on certain rides in the amusement park. Why? Because their small bodies and fragile minds are not equipped or ready. And so it is with us adults.

I am definitely not ready for the iPhone. But it's pretty and cool looking! Well yeah, so are children, but I'm not running out and getting one of them either!

I will wait... on purpose, with my iPod!

Coach Carolyn