How do you react to life’s unexpected twists?

The past few days have had a couple of unexpected twists!

Nothing bad happened, just unexpected.

  1. We weren’t able to see Nate’s sister and her husband over the holidays and found out late last week that they were going to be visiting Nate’s parents. So, we spent Sunday afternoon and evening there.
  2. On Saturday I took my car in for an overdue oil change. And I found out that a gasket was going bad and my car was slowly leaking oil. A fairly quick trip was now longer.
  3. And just before I sat down to write this, Nate popped into ask if I could help him with a work task of his this afternoon.

How would you react to these unexpected twists?

You can be honest, no one will know your answer but you 😉

A couple of years ago this is what would have happened:

  1. I would have been frustrated that I didn’t know about their trip earlier and now need to change my plans or stay home alone! (I plan out my week on Sunday afternoons)
  2. Overwhelmed because my car needed work done and now my afternoon of plans needed to change.
  3. Annoyed because apparently my husband doesn’t think I have anything to do this afternoon because my calendar is blank.

Maybe that sounds familiar?

Here’s what actually happened:

  1. I was excited to see my sister- and brother-in-law and catch up with them. Yay family time!
  2. I was relieved that they found the problem before our trip, but concerned that it wouldn’t be done. I shared this with them and they were able to complete the work that day!
  3. I agreed to help him later and I knew that no was an option 🙂 I set the expectation that I’d need to return to my office for a bit later this evening to wrap some things up.

Going from one set of reactions to the other didn’t happen overnight. It’s a combination of:

  • knowing what needs to be done, even if I haven’t planned out the current week, because I’ve taken the time to set goals and plan for them over the month.
  • changing my relationship with my goals, tasks and time. Sometimes my goals felt like they were a square peg and time was a round hole.

Which area currently most trips you up?

I talked about this LIVE on Facebook here.

Let me know what trips you up when life sends you unexpected twists!

How you do anything is how you do everything - especially under stress.

How you do anything is how you do everything…

How you do anythingNote: I’m fine and well taken care of. Details of my “episodes” are at the end of the post (I share because I know you might be curious, not because I’m looking for advice).

I had an episode at the gym last month – a bad one by my standards (I don’t know what it is by other’s). It was a bathroom trip, juice box, another bathroom trip, lay down on the floor and have an ice pack episode.

And then I felt fine for the rest of the day.

I haven’t had an episode like that for a long time – over a year? I can usually feel them coming.

As it was happening, part of me noticed the pronounced difference in how I was handling it this time as opposed to the last time I had a fairly bad episode.

Last time I just wanted to sit in the bathroom – I didn’t feel well and thought I was going to be sick.

And I wanted someone to just take care of me, to fix it and make it all better.

When Karen (my personal trainer) came to check on me I really appreciated it, and I wasn’t sure that leaving the bathroom and having a juice box was really what I needed, but I trusted her and followed her advice.

And I felt better.

In my business at the time, it was similar – I wanted someone to give me the exact steps to follow and just make it all better. Heck, I wanted someone to just tell me what direction to go!

At the same time, I wasn’t sure that the direction or steps anyone was giving me were really going to work, but I did them anyway.

That process took longer than the juice box…

Fast forward to last month.

I’m feeling sick and like I should just head to the bathroom. I know a juice box will help, but I need to go to the bathroom – so I go.

And as I sit there feeling sick, I also know that I need to get up and have a juice box. I want to get up, even though I don’t feel like it.

So I go.

Under the watchful and caring eyes of Karen and Donna (the workout room attendant) – I have a juice box.

I still feel ill, but also a slight bit better.

I have to go to the bathroom again. I try to be quick because I know that staying in there too long isn’t what I need AND because Karen and Donna are worrying about me.

As I’m washing my hands, Karen comes in to check on me – making sure I haven’t passed out or something – I’m grateful.

I head back out and sit down.

Donna asks if I want to lie down on a weight bench. I opt instead for a mat on the floor – something I won’t potentially fall off of.

Karen gets a couple of ice packs, no longer asking if I want one – just knowing it’s what I need, even when I don’t. I take them, one for my neck and one for my forehead.

Now I am starting to feel better – I start joking with Karen and Donna.

Karen says the color has returned to my face.

I move back to the chair and sit for another ten minutes, just to make sure I’m okay to drive home and Karen starts her own workout.

The episode passed in under 15 minutes and I’m heading out the door at about the 25 minute mark.

In my business, things have also changed a lot.

I’m no longer looking for anyone to take my hand and tell me the direction I should be heading.

I chose my own direction and when I need or want help, I have trusted people (coaches and fellow entrepreneurs) to ask. And I modify what I learn to work for me and where I am.

I’m no longer looking for a savior or magic pill from the outside (well, we all have bad days).

Instead I’m looking and finding support and resources to help me take the needed/wanted steps and occasionally suggest something else that I’m blind to or simply don’t know about.

How we do anything is how we do everything. I’d add – especially under stress.

I have two questions for you today, I’d love if you’d answer one or both of them in the comments below:

  1. How do you react under stress and how do you want to react?
  2. How have you grown in the past year or so?
Episode details: My personal trainer and I believe the episodes are caused by a sugar crash in my body. I have been tested and I’m not diabetic or hypoglycemic, but a juice box generally brings the color back to my face pretty dang quickly.
The episodes are brought on by lots of heavy cardio where my heart rate is elevated a bit higher than a normal workout. Generally, at around the 10-15 minute mark I can feel the telltale signs that an episode is coming and Karen will notice I’ve gone a bit pale. When that happens I sit down and generally have a juice box. Then my color returns and I feel fine.
These episodes are not a regular occurrence. The bad ones, as described above, happen maybe once a year. The less severe ones (when I notice it coming earlier) happen maybe 2-3 times a year.

How Do You Want Your Morning To Feel?

Portrait_Of_Pensive_WomanIt’s the beginning of your workday and you’re already frustrated and tired. You pull yourself away from your email and think about everything that has to be done today. You should make a to-do list, but quite frankly, you just don’t have time for that.

So, you mentally go through the list kept in your head and pick the most urgent task. 30-minutes in you remember that you promised to email something to someone you met networking yesterday. That should be a quick 5 minute task, so you start doing that. It takes a bit longer then expected to pull that information together and 20 minutes and a Facebook check later you’re trying to remember what you were working on at the beginning of the morning.

You get frustrated because you don’t have time to sit around trying to remember what you were doing! You suddenly think of something else that needs to get done and 15 minutes into that task you remember what you were working on earlier.

You’ve only been working for a couple hours and you’re already exhausted and frustrated and you have this nagging feeling that you’re forgetting a really important task. Annoyed, you get up and go to the kitchen to make yourself a cup of coffee, maybe that will jog your memory.

But really, wouldn’t it be nice if your morning looked like this:

It’s the beginning of your workday and you’re calm, collected and a bit excited to get started! You look at the to-do list you created for yourself last night. There’s a couple high priority tasks that you want to do and some phone calls and emails to send.

Good thing you have systems in place for these things.The highest priority task is for a presentation late next week that you almost forgot about and some of your phone calls are to reconnect with people you talked to a few months ago – you would have totally forgot!

You smile thinking about the possible opportunities that will present themselves today and start with your highest priority task, thinking about the people that will benefit from your presentation next week as you work.

After a couple hours (and a quick break for water) you’re done with the first draft of your presentation. You put it away and head to the kitchen for a snack and a break. You’re feeling happy and looking forward to the rest of your day.

Which scenario most looks like your morning right now? Which one do you want it to be?

There’s more going on here than one person took the time to plan their day and the other didn’t. That’s more a symptom than the cause of the exhaustion and frustration.

And it’s not that one person is just more driven than the other, more committed to success (although some people might disagree with me).

The energy between the two mornings is completely different. The first morning is stressful, scattered and tiring, while the second morning is calm, confident and focused.

So, if the planning and to-do lists are just a symptom or side effect, what are they a symptom of?

Take a look at the difference in language between the two. The first morning is full of have to‘s and should‘s, with feelings of worry and stress. The second morning is want to‘s and opportunities, with feelings of excitement and focus.

Again, the language is a symptom, but it get’s us closer. Your language can give you insights to your thoughts and beliefs that might not immediately be obvious. The first morning’s thoughts and beliefs are around not having enough time. While the second morning’s thoughts and beliefs are about opportunities and effortless focus. It doesn’t even occur to her that there’s not enough time.

So, what can you do? One small change you can make is to update your language. When you hear yourself say “I have to” or “I need to” change it to “I want to.” If that seems impossible, ask what would need to happen to be able to change that to an “I want to”?

And of course there are other things you can do too. In the Productivity Insight Process I go deep with you into these topics. We identify exactly where you are and I give you a personalized suggestions for how to shift from the stressful day you’re currently having to the calm, opportunity filled one that you want.

Share with me below what your morning looks like, or what you’re going to change.

Image courtesy of iconmac /
Sad Young Woman

I Knew It Was Going to be a Bad Day

Sad Young WomanI went to bed the other night frustrated with myself. It was after midnight (a very late bedtime for me) and I just knew that the next day wasn’t going to go smoothly as a result.

How did I know that?

Easy, that’s my past experience.

It goes like this: go to bed late, the next morning sleep in a bit (because not getting enough sleep makes for a bad day too!) and then be frustrated with the time that is ”lost.” Spend the morning frustrated that I still have five things to do and only time for three. Constantly check email and Facebook just in case something important comes through. And at the end of the day I’m frustrated and upset with myself because only two things of my five tasks actually got done. I might attempt to go to bed early, but I’m not tired – just annoyed. At this point one of two things happens: (1) I get to bed early and start the next day “right” or (2) I stay up late again and have a repeat of my bad day.

So, I was thinking about this as I got ready the next day and I suddenly remembered an article I wrote over two years ago when I was still an employee. The gist of it is that one or two (or more) events don’t determine the flow of your day unless you let it.

Well, crap. I guess I don’t need to have a frustrating or bad day. Wait – that’s a good thing!

If you want to succeed in your life, remember this phrase: The past does not equal the future. Because you failed yesterday; or all day today; or a moment ago; or for the last six months; the last sixteen years; or the last fifty years of life, doesn’t mean anything… All that matters is: What are you going to do, right now? – Anthony Robbins (emphasis added)

Just because my past experience is that staying up late means the following day will be frustrating and generally bad doesn’t mean that I’ll have that experience every single time. Unless of course I make it happen.

I want to point out all the assumptions I made about my day (time was lost; I’ll get an email that I just have to respond to immediately; need to start the day right).  I feed my own frustration with those assumptions.

Was my day perfect? Well, no – but who really wants to be perfect?  (I shared a great quote about this on Facebook last week click here to see it)

Did I get my five things done? Nope, and I was okay with that.

Why was I okay with that? Well, why get frustrated about it? Frustration doesn’t get things done any faster.

It’s easy to read about someone else’s experiences, but how do you recognize it for yourself (and recognize it early) and change it up?

Well, I just happen to have a couple thoughts on that!

  1. Are you thinking something along the lines of “UGH! Because I did that now this is going to happen!”
    Take a step back – how realistic is that? What’s something else that can happen? What would happen if you smiled, took a breath and re-prioritized instead of going “UGH!”
  2. Are you should-ing on yourself?
    Do you find yourself saying “I should have done this” or “I should be doing that” or “this shouldn’t be happening like that”?
    Yes? Take a deep breath – maybe even get out of your office or house for a few minutes. Go for a walk. Is it too cold out? Walk up and down some stairs or do jumping jacks. Really, I’m serious, it can help to get your blood flowing and put your mind on physical activities for a little bit.

And next time you find yourself in the midst of a day that’s just not going “right” – remember that quote above.

If none of that is working, write down three things you’re thankful for, then take a breath and smile and write down three more. Gratitude is a great mood lifter!

So, to borrow from Tony Robbins: What are you going to do, right now? Share in the comments below!

Another article you might want to check out: Throwing a Pity Party

Image courtesy of Jeanne Clair Maarbes /

How To Change Facts to Fiction

In my last post I asked what facts about yourself are no longer true? And what facts do you want to change?

Take a couple of minutes to think about one of those facts. No really, do it, I’ll be here when you’re ready.

Now that you have a fact or two. Let’s talk about a way to change those facts.

What are the messages you give yourself around these facts? Now, what message do you want to give yourself? This one can be tricky, because I know I automatically want to say that opposite of my old fact. However, as my coach points out, when we do that our subconscious can sabotage us because it’s going, “yeah right.” My old fact was “I’m uncoordinated.” So, saying “I’m coordinated” doesn’t really ring true. Sure, that’s how I want to feel or be, but I’ve spent a lot of time believing I’m uncoordinated, so saying the opposite isn’t going to magically make it true.

So, think about what if this fact wasn’t true? How do you behave? What do you experience? Who do you get to be? And replace your old fact with the new truth. It should be something that rings true for you.

For me, being coordinated meant better hand/eye coordination, but it also meant not being ashamed of myself when I couldn’t easily do something that I perceived my peers could easily do. So, if I was coordinated it meant that I could be more comfortable in my own skin and know I could easily keep up with everyone around me. So, a new truth I could have replaced my old fact with is “I’m strong and capable.” That rang true.

Actually, “I’m strong and capable” was an affirmation that I regularly used. I repeated it to myself over and over again before important or stressful meetings. I wanted to be more confident, but saying “I’m confident” didn’t feel true. “I’m strong and capable” felt true and reassuring. I also thought about how it felt emotionally and physically to be strong and capable. So, going into those meetings I would sit straighter, talk calmly and clearly and stay on topic.

What does your new truth feel like emotionally and physically? Use both that and the words as you work on replacing old facts.

If you’re having problems with coming up with a new truth, ask yourself why you want to replace your old fact. So, why do you want to be coordinated? Once you have an answer, ask yourself why again and keep going as long as you can. You’ll emotionally (and maybe physically) feel it when you get to the end. You might find you have a different fact you want to change.