Things that make you go ‘mmmm…’

We admit, we must have been living under a rock, as this is the first that we have learned of fellow Canadian Neil Pasricha’s 3 A’s of Awesome TED. (Visit his Webby Award winning blog 10000 Awesome Things or read any 3 of his International Best Seller books).

This is yet another example of the power of reframing and how communicating from a place of abundance affects everything that we do.  He is right, life is hard and not without its many challenges.  However, we get to choose how we show up, how we build our relationships, and ultimately this choice shapes our life.  Recently, my family was faced with such a challenge and I wanted to share our experience with you.

Late last month my husband was diagnosed with aggressive stage 3 Prostate Cancer, not awesome.  Thankfully, it was discovered before it had time to spread.  While I wanted to bury my head in the sand and have a tantrum screaming and crying “Why us?  Why now? This isn’t part of our plan!” I knew being angry, resentful and sad about it wouldn’t solve the problem or help the situation.  We have 2 kids (4 & 5 ½), 2 schools, work, daily commitments, life… clearly, there was no time for Cancer.  I dug deep with my tools that we share with you and asked myself, what would I ask someone in this situation to do?  How could I look at this differently? How could I reframe this challenge and not awesome situation to gain clarity and a new perspective?  So I dug deep and this is what I came up with:

  1. Aggressive Stage 3 Prostate Cancer is ALL it is and it’s NOT going to take his life.  With surgery it can be contained.
  2. It was found before it spread anywhere else making us THE LUCKIEST PEOPLE on earth.
  3. It gave us an opportunity to take stock of our lives and friends with a lens we would never have normally had, realizing how AWESOME our community really is and that so many things that we thought were ‘important’ turned out not to be so.
  4. We don’t take care of ourselves as effectively as we could be.  Whether it’s being proactive in our health, our communication, our relationships, OURSELVES, changes needed to be made and new practices implemented. Again, a realization this lens gave us.
  5. Life is short and incredibly sweet. Wasting it on anger, judgment, resentment, criticism, and fear is simply not worth it. The ‘go-to’ tools so many of us default in daily situations of stress, being overwhelmed, or not living the life you want.   As Neil Pasricha shows, it’s the “little” simple things that bring us such joy.  How come it takes a not so awesome moment for us to appreciate that and bask in those moments?  Our approach to life is now much fuller, freer, more joy and less “need”.

This reframe gave my husband peace, gave me courage, and empowered our family. I admit, most of our friends think we are in denial as we have such a positive and abundant attitude towards it; however, in some ways this cancer saved our lives.

We are consistently talking about the importance of being curious, open to new perspectives and possibilities, reframing all from a place of nourishment and filling ourselves up.  What our family was able to do with our coaching culture tools, Neil Pasricha’s 3 A’s of Awesome demonstrates as well.

Since we have about 100 years to enjoy life, how are you going to choose to show up to yours?  What tools do you use to dig deep with and how does it change your outlook?


“Abundance is Our Future”

Last week we discussed communication as nourishment (Are you Settling For Less?). How so many of us are settling for, or accepting of, that feeling of “not enough” and how that mentality affects everything that we do: every conversation we have, every decision we make, every question we ask, and every relationship we are in.   We challenged you to approach your life, your relationships, and your conversations from a place of abundance, filling yourselves up.  Peter Diamandis does something similar in his TED talk “Abundance is our Future”.

Mr. Diamandis opens his TED with how news media preferentially feed us negative stories because that’s what our minds pay attention to.  How if we were given a dozen news stories to choose from we would preferentially look at the negative ones and that with all of our electronic devices and news 24/7, it’s no wonder so many people are pessimistic and believing the world is getting worse.  However, if you are to take a step back and look at it from a different perspective, he would argue that it’s just distortions brought to us of what’s really going on and in fact our world is in a better place now than it’s ever been, obviously not without it’s share of challenges.

The same way our minds pay attention to negative news stories, given a dozen conversations we have daily, we would preferentially look at the negative ones – it’s what our minds pay attention to.  Given the number of conversations we have, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and accepting of the feeling of not enough.  Like Peter Diamandis, we too believe that this perspective is just distortions brought to us of what’s really going on and we can choose a more productive and abundant outcome.

This TED is an inspiring example of the power of being open and curious to infinite possibilities, the power of reframing, and an affirmation that like communication we have the tools to make a difference, it’s how we choose to use them.

Abundance by his definition is  “creating a life of possibility”.  Imagine what it would be like to have abundant conversations that would affect positive change in every person you speak with?  Conversations where all parties feel seen, heard, and understood?  Where conversations nourished all those you spoke with (your children, your partner, your friends, your colleagues, your employees, your costumers)?  What would it be like if we gave the same attention to the positive communication as we do to the negative ones?

We agree with Peter Diamandis, we have the potential to create a world full of abundance and that world starts with you.  What new possibility are you curious about and going to create in your life?

Are you settling for less?

Communication is fundamental to everything that we do. We like to think of it as nourishment.  It nourishes our relationships, our connections with others, and ultimately our lives.  Without the use of proper communication skills, relationships breakdown, connections are lost and our lives suffer as a result.

This was the topic at a recent workshop we did for Children’s Hospital’s Center for Young Women in LA.  We focused on looking at communication from a place of abundance, how it can fill you up and how it affects everything you do.  At the workshop we shared with them a passage from Lynne Twist’s “The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life” (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2003 pg 44) who addresses the myth of scarcity, which we would like to share with you:

For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is ‘I didn’t get enough sleep.’  The next one is ‘I don’t have enough time’.  Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it.  We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of… We don’t have enough exercise.  We don’t have enough work.  We don’t have enough profits.  We don’t have enough power.  We don’t have enough wilderness.  We don’t have enough weekends.  Of course, we don’t have enough money – ever.

We’re not thin enough, we’re not smart enough, we’re not pretty enough or fit enough or educated enough or successful enough, or rich enough – ever.  Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we’re already inadequate, already behind, already loosing, already lacking something.  And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds race with a litany of what we didn’t get, or didn’t get done, that day.  We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and wake up to the reverie of lack…  What begins as a simple expression of the hurried life, or even the challenged life, grows into the great justification for an unfulfilled life.”

How many of you can relate to this?

Since communication is fundamental to everything that we do, and the above is the lens so many of us are taking from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed, how can we nourish ourselves, our lives, and our relationships with the foundation of not enough?  Think about how this affects every conversation that we have, every decision that we make and ultimately how we show up to everything that we do each day.  If ‘not enough’ is the lens we have in what we listen for, in the questions we ask, the boundaries we set, how is this serving us on a daily basis?

One of the many things that struck us with this exceptional group of young women at our workshop was their ability to reframe.  Looking at our lens of not enough, how can we reframe it so that we can nourish ourselves and hit the ground each morning with a sense of fulfillment, of abundance, of joy and gratitude?   What would it be like to remind ourselves of all the things we do get done in a day, the myriad of accomplishments that we completed successfully, and the people that we served?

Reframing is a powerful tool that enables us to challenge the status quo and our beliefs to create new possibilities for the future.   We can easily become our own saboteurs with the thoughts of not having enough constantly depleting ourselves.  Reframing allows us to challenge that belief and look at it from another perspective that can serve us from a place of nourishment and abundance.

For example:

Thought:  That looks like a really interesting job and I know I could do it well.  They will never hire me because my experience is limited in that area.

Reframe:  That looks like a really interesting job and I know I could do it well.  How can I describe my experience and skills so they fit with what they are looking for?

Reframing allows us to look at an experience with a perspective that nourishes us and fills us up.  Looking at the example above, when completing a resume feeling like you will never get hired because your experience is limited vs describing your experience that fits with what they are looking for, which resume is going to successfully reflect your abilities ultimately getting you closer to the job you want?  Which mindset is going to nourish you and fill you up in the interview process?

If we become so focused on completing the things that we need to do with a lens of not enough, how are we ever going to complete the things WE WANT to do that nourishes ourselves and fill us up?

Tips for nourishing your communication, your relationships, and ultimately your life:

Be aware of your inner saboteur.  We all have one and it’s up to us how to choose how we listen to it.  When someone pays us a compliment, so many of us are quick to dismiss it- the not enough saboteur takes over.  When looking at communications skills as a source of nourishment, how is this voice serving you (as a leader, a partner, a parent, a friend, a colleague)?  How is it serving your relationships with others?

What stops us from accepting the compliment or praise and trusting the perspective of another, allowing ourselves to fill up?  The moment you hear your inner saboteur take over, stop yourself and ask ‘Where is this coming from? And how can I reframe this in a way that nourishes me and fills me up?’

Reframe: Allow yourself to challenge your “not enough” belief and explore a new perspective that can serve you.  Ask an open question to begin to look at an idea, a thought, or a belief in a different way. eg. How is this belief serving me? How can I look at this differently?  Who is this really about?  Where is this belief coming from? What would it take to serve me well and nourish me?  Open questions start with who, what, where, when, and how.

How are you currently nourishing your relationships with your communication?

What does your inner saboteur say to you and how is it affecting your life and your relationships?

We want to hear from you.  What’s working, what needs help?

Want to learn more about nourishing your communication skills? Check out 3 Levels of Listening, How to Nourish Your Child Through Communication, Are you a Teller?,   Judgement Day “It Makes Me Feel Better”, The One Trait All Innovative Leaders Share

Are you swimming with sharks? Assumptions put to the test

Watching this amazing clip 333 Nina Salerosa by Joe Romeiro created lots of reflection for us.  Who would ever put themselves in this position, of swimming with, feeding and touching sharks?  Not us!   So we started to think why we felt so adverse to approaching something/someone whom we sense as dangerous, perhaps so much so as to affect our survival.

What came to mind for us was the notion of assumptions.  How do assumptions come into play in a way that limit us from experiences, connections, building relationships with others?  What could we do to test our assumptions (other than swim with sharks) so we could venture into ‘uncharted waters’ and learn, creating new relationships that help us thrive?

We all have assumptions about everything and these can prevent us from seeing, hearing and really understanding others.  How can we become more aware of our assumptions and begin to test them?

Looking at the clip above, we could ask ourselves what are our reasons for thinking sharks are dangerous, a being to avoid at all costs?  Well, lots of shark attacks come to mind, on surf boards, swimming, etc.  We all have images in our heads of shark attacks, created through photos, documentaries and movies.  These seem very real and in many cases they are.  How else could we look at a shark and treat it with respect instead of fear, not wanting to swim with it and still recognizing it as a worthy being?

Looking at people, how often do we look at someone and because of something, we assume we would not like to get to know them and thus there is no need to really see, hear and understand them?  We don’t need to or want to be curious about what makes them who they are.  What assumptions could we be making?  How could these assumptions interfere with us developing a relationship that has value for us and for the other person?

This video is a beautiful and powerful demonstration that by testing our assumptions we can build relationships that we would normally assume to be impossible.  That, along with the learning and experience of a new relationship, can be life changing.

Looking at your relationships with all types of beings, what assumptions could you be making that interfere with your ability to build that relationship and really see, hear and understand them?