journaling

How to Talk to Your Future Self

???????A few months ago I was feeling anxious about money and not sure if I should continue focusing on my writing career. I opened a random page of a notebook by my bed and wrote: “Tracy’s Patterns: As soon as you get somewhere with your writing you start panicking about money, and distract yourself with odd jobs and job searches.” I felt better as soon as I wrote this, and closed the notebook to return to my writing.  And forgot about it.

I am weeks, maybe days, from finishing the second draft of my novel. Just as I was on an incredible wave of momentum, I crashed into wall of anxiety. I’m going to go broke writing this stupid thing that no one will ever read. I’m almost 30, I should have a real job. It went on and on, but I won’t bore you with the details because if you are pursuing something creative, you’ve probably had all the same thoughts. I decided to end all this anxiety once and for all and start the never-ending job search again.

The next day I was cleaning up my apartment and I found a notebook that I rarely use. I opened to a random page and there it was in writing : “As soon as you get somewhere with your writing you start panicking about money, and distract yourself with odd jobs and job searches.” I nearly dropped the book on the floor. I had completely forgotten I wrote those words. It felt like I had paid a genius psychiatrist  to study me and write down her findings in my notebook. Actually the most comforting thought was: this is me from the future saying don’t worry it’s all going to be okay as long as you listen to your heart and not your fears.

As soon as I realized I was continuing a pattern to hold myself back, it was so easy to let go of the anxiety. Yes, I don’t have enough savings to last me forever, but that should be motivation to finish my book sooner, not get another job. Since finding that journal, I’ve been writing like crazy and any time I think of looking at my bank account, or looking at a job listing, I repeat my findings to myself, and keep writing.

What is your pattern? Leave it in the comment section below or write it down in a journal. The next time you start to doubt yourself, revisit your comment and see if your anxiety is based on truth or based on a belief that is holding you back. This was so helpful for me, and I hope it can help you as well.

10 lessons from 100 posts.

Here are some things I’ve learned while writing the last 99 posts.

  1. Write things down. We have so many thoughts running through our head how will we ever know which ones are significant? Of course writing a thought down does not make it significant, but if you catch yourself writing the same thought over and over it’s time to take a deeper look. It’s nearly impossible to get that clarity if you keep everything jumbled up in your head.
  2. Create a supportive community. One of the reasons why I was afraid to blog was that I’ve read so many mean-spirited comments on the internet. Blogs seemed like the place where people let out their worst thoughts, and I didn’t want to invite that into my life. However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how nice and supportive strangers have been. This goes for the real world too. I’ve actively drawn more positive people into my life, while avoiding negative people.
  3. Make your goals public.It holds you accountable, and it makes you realize that other people are rooting for your success and happiness.

    Termites build these impressive structures one grain of sand at a time.

  4. Things add up. Whenever you start something it’s easy to discount it. After my first few posts I thought what’s the point. I’m just wasting time. But after steady accumulation the whole it greater than the parts. Sure there are some posts that are silly and unnecessary, and sure there were some heartfelt posts that felt really good to share, but in the end I’m able to look through it all and say, wow this is something I’m proud of.
  5. Take some time to study yourself. We spend years studying math, Science, history, etc, but when do we sit down and really examine ourselves? And why not? We have to spend the rest of our lives with ourselves so shouldn’t we be the greatest expert on our own ideas, memories, and dreams?
  6. Just say yes. If you’re not sure you will like something try it out. Take every thing one day at a time. One of the hardest things about finding a new job after I quit was not know what I liked to do. But how will you know what you want to do if you don’t try out a bunch of different things? It’s just as easy to say no after you try something out. But to say no first will prevent you from knowing for sure if something is your cup of tea.
  7. It doesn’t matter if it’s been said before. It’s so easy not to write something because you think it’s a given, or a cliche. But chances are it’s new for someone. And even if everyone in the world has read it before sometimes we need to read it again. Sometimes I just need to hear something at the exact right moment for it to sink in.
  8. Talk to someone different. It’s our tendency to surround ourselves with like minded people. I often realize what a bubble I live in (especially when I see the kind of politicians people are actually voting for…Santorum? Really?). One of my favorite parts of teaching English as a second language is meeting people who come from different worlds. It makes life seem so much more complex and beautiful when you know that it can be done so differently.
  9. Wake up an hour earlier. I used to think that getting an extra few minutes of sleep was more important and beneficial than eating breakfast, or having a chance to take a deep breath before heading out to work. Ever since I started doing the morning pages I’ve been waking up at 6:30 and I love it. Of course I’m tired, but I’m going to be tired no matter what time I wake up. Now my mornings feel peaceful. There’s something special about the early morning sunlight.
  10. Notice synchronicity. I don’t really care if it happens by chance, or if it’s God’s way of saying, “hey I’m listening,”there’s something so fun and exciting about noticing coincidences. In my morning pages I wrote, “I hope my boss gives me another class,” and that day he gave me another class. Last week I thought, “I really don’t want to do the laundry,” and a minute later Mike walked by with the laundry bag and said he was going to do it. Noticing these funny coincidences makes you feel like an all powerful superhero. It makes you think that you can get anything you put your mind to. It encourages you to dream bigger, because if you can will one person to do your laundry maybe you can will someone else to publish your book.

An interview with the founder of Wild Heart Coaching (part 2)

Here’s the second half of my interview with Lisa Bourque, founder of Wild Heart Coaching. Lisa inspired many people when she quit her job as an Attorney to become a life coach. By focusing on living a more authentic, happy life she has helped others to find their own true passions as well. For more background read part 1!
What would you say to someone who is unhappy with their career right now, but can’t think of any personal passions to drive them to a new career path?
First, get really honest with yourself.  How does it feel to be so unhappy?  Really feel it.  Don’t try to run away from the feeling or shut it out.  You’re feeling this way for a reason.  Get honest with yourself about what isn’t working — is it your environment?  The attitudes of the people you work with?  The type of work you do?  What’s missing?  Then, get honest with yourself about what you really want.  It doesn’t have to be a job title.  But think about how you would like to spend your day — what does that look like?  Who do you work with?  What types of things do you do?  What is the impact you have on others?  Starting to explore these types of questions in an honest way is an important first step.  Because if you aren’t honest with yourself and try to fit into a box that doesn’t fit, it’s going to be hard to make changes.
Second, notice when you do feel engaged in what you’re doing — whether in your life or in your work.  If you don’t ever feel engaged, then it’s time to start trying new things!  Is there something you want to do that you haven’t given yourself permission to do?  Maybe it’s going to a photography exhibit, maybe it’s trying out kayaking, or taking a cooking class.  Whatever is calling to you, try it!  When you start following your interests and allow yourself to experiment, you will get more in touch with personal passions — those things that make you feel happy, alive, and engaged.
A life coach is an expert who partners with you during that process of exploration, self-connection, deeper understanding and awareness, and conscious action toward what you want.  Working with a coach helps you to move forward and deeper more quickly and with greater focus — kind of like hiring a personal trainer to get more fit versus just doing it on your own.  Working with someone who’s main purpose is to help you in this way tends to yield the results you’re looking for much more efficiently!
What is a typical life coaching session like? If someone can’t afford life coaching what would you recommend?
Every coaching session is different!  People have many different issues and goals that they bring to coaching, and the really great thing is that coaching can be applied to many areas of your life.  The only typical thing is that you come to the call (most coaches coach over the phone) with a topic that is important to you — something you’ve been stuck in, a big question that’s been on you mind, a desire to take action that for some reason you haven’t taken yet.  Then I coach you around that topic using whatever tools support your goals or agenda.
Sometimes the session focuses on gaining clarity about what you really wants and what it may look like.  Other times it is exploring your feeling of being stuck and brainstorming new perspectives so that you can take a different approach and move forward where you hadn’t been able to before.  Other times it may be gaining a deeper awareness of what’s going on beneath the surface of everyday life so that you can see the big picture.

If you don’t know if  you are ready for coaching, just start exploring.  Go to a bookstore and browse the personal growth/personal development section and see what draws you in.  One of my favorite books is The Artist’s Way"" by Julia Cameron.  The exercises in that book changed how I saw myself in my life. If you hear about a workshop or a class that seems interesting, take it! Journal.  Even if you aren’t used to writing what’s on your mind, just go for it.  Start by writing 1 page a day about anything you’ve been thinking or feeling.  Write about what you’re feeling.  Build up to a couple pages a day.  Explore blogs that interest you and stretch you to think about your life in new ways.  I write my blog at  http://www.yourwildheart.com/blog.html and offer useful information, tips, and perspectives for free two times a week.  Many other blogs do too — including the HeSo Project!
If you think coaching could be a valuable tool to help you move toward what you want, I invite you to talk to a coach!  Many coaches offer free sample sessions so that you can get a first-hand idea whether coaching is right for you – because ultimately it’s up to you to create the life you want.  I found coaching to be invaluable in my journey and I continue to work with a coach to this day.  I also see how coaching is of great value to my clients – knowing that makes me happy and proud to do what I do every day.
Thank you so much for sharing your insights and motivating story with us!
 Lisa Bourque is a personal coach and the founder of Wild Heart Coaching.  She specializes in helping people who feel lifeless at work to find their authentic path and align their personal and professional passions with confidence and choice.  Visit her website at www.YourWildHeart.com.