Turn Your Bad Day Around

“So you had a bad day. Don’t let it spiral you into a mindset of doom and gloom. Get back in your power. Remember you are who you choose to be.”-Karen Salmansohn

Bad days happen. However, if you start to label too many days disagreeable this can cause a lack of productivity. At Ignite Your Potential we often recite the phrase “don’t let a bad 10 minutes ruin your entire day.” Letting a negative moment define a whole day is not only unfair, it can lead to missed opportunities, and distract from your day’s purpose. Continue reading to discover strategies that can improve your rough days. 

Accept Reality

Accepting the reality of your situation doesn’t mean you’re stuck or a failure. The sooner you acknowledge the problem the faster you can find a solution. Denying or pushing away the negative feelings you are experiencing will only delay the process. 

Consider Repeating Out Loud:

  • I acknowledge this is my situation
  • Even though I have a problem, I am okay
  • I have the power to change my situation 

Change Your Point of View

After you’ve accepted your current situation, attempt to transform your viewpoint into one that benefits you. For example, if you’ve been taking punch after punch all day. You may begin with a negative outlook at think something like, “This is happening to me because I’m not good enough.” Change your perspective by reframing your internal dialogue, “This can make me stronger, more resilient, and prepared to turn challenges into future success.” Small changes, like a reframe, will make a substantial difference in your ability to conquer bad days.

Consider:

  • Asking yourself: is this productive thinking? Does it serve me?
  • Visualize other perspectives
  • Focus on what is in your power
  • Use productive and positive language when you’re talking to yourself

Take a Break 

Attempting to work while your mind is overflowing with negative thoughts is ineffective and will reduce productivity. A study conducted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign concluded that brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve one’s ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods. Time off is necessary to regroup to get your mind back on track.

Consider:

  • Talking to a friend or family member
  • Meditating 
  • Moving your body, go for a walk, stretch, exercise

Socialize

There are many studies that show the emotional support you give and get during connections with friends and family enhances psychological well-being. When you are feeling down, reach out to the people who love and want to support you. 

Consider:

  • Visiting your neighborhood coffee shop
  • Making plans with friends or family
  • Volunteering

Are bad days seem to be occurring more often? Ignite Your Potential Center coaches will provide you with emotional support and skills that will help you achieve your goals. We are the #1 coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise. All of the award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session, see if we are the right fit for you.

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3 Tips to Overcome Fear of Rejection

“Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.” – Judy Blume

Fear of rejection can negatively affect most aspects of one’s life. It’s so powerful that it discourages the achievement of goals and living a full life filled with happiness. It also has many consequences. Facing this fear is not easy, but it is necessary. Here are three tips to help you start overcoming your fear of rejection:  

1. Don’t Take it Personally

Everyone has a different reason for saying no, and it could have absolutely nothing to do with you. Maybe you didn’t receive a job because the interviewer had a current employee in mind for the position. Or maybe a person at the bar (you finally mustered up the courage to approach) declined a date because they recently got out of a bad relationship. Not every opportunity you pursue is meant for you. Timing and compatibility are two things that are completely out of your control.

Being confident in your personality and capabilities is essential to facing rejection. You’ll be able to detach your self-worth from the opinions and acceptance of others. This could lead to your life flourishing in ways you didn’t know were possible.

2. Don’t Run, Stay Engaged

Often times when we face rejection the fear centers in our brain tell us to flee from the situation. However, as a reframe, welcome the feedback that rejection offers. Instead of running away and never looking back, if it’s appropriate, ask why. You may find that the feedback is constructive.

Jia Jiang, author and founder of Wuju Learning, has an amazing Ted Talk titled “What I learned from 100 days of rejection”. Jia outlines his experience with fearing rejection and how he overcame his fear. He also shares how he continues to inspire others to do the same.

3. Embrace Rejection

Rejection has a negative connotation, it’s viewed as a form of failure. Finding the lesson in every experience you faced rejection is very valuable. From every “no” there is an opportunity for self-growth, self-exploration, and self-improvement. It is important to understand rejection does not define you. Let your reaction to being rejected showcase who you are.

Think about the last time you were rejected. Now think about all the opportunities that came from that closed door. Celebrate your rejection because you stepped out of your comfort zone to get closer to achieving your goals. Staying positive and working hard will introduce you to new opportunities. Embracing rejection is truly a catalyst for your odyssey to self-fulfillment.

After reading this article, we hope your perspective of rejection has improved. Remember, all of the award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you meet your life goals and career goals. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise. We can’t wait to witness your pursuit of living a life without regrets.

 

A Few Things I Know About You

  • You deserve to be loved deeply and to feel like you belong.
  • You can trust yourself.
  • You feel empowered when you speak what is true.
  • You have it within you to get through.
  • When you soften into self-acceptance, where you know and own who you are, it feels right, like a breath of fresh air…a relief…an oasis.
  • When you look inward and listen close enough, you know the answer.
  • When you come near the end…you will know you played this game of life full out.

Reflecting On Our Future: What Really Lies Ahead

We are living into an extraordinary decade ahead.

Are We On the Verge of Nuclear War with North Korea?
Famine In Somalia!
Protestors Pepper Sprayed By Police!
Syria: A Year of Horror!

News headlines such as these seem to shout out to us every day. But there is something important you need to know about your brain: the way it’s wired makes it natural for us to focus on the negative.

There’s an area of your brain called the amygdala, which plays a primary role in the processing of emotions and motivations…particularly those related to survival. And because of the way the amygdala functions, if we are presented with a dozen news stories, we will preferentially look at the adverse reports. Our mind pays attention to what is likely to be the biggest threat. Combine this with readily accessible sensational news and the result is a biased perspective; we tend to think the world around us is getting worse.

Peter Diamandis suggests that the sense that the world around us is degrading is in part a distortion caused by the amygdala. And while there are many great challenges and scary things happening in our human world…he uses this TED presentation to review some of our real human progress and to highlight the abundant possibilities.

Considering Dr. Peter Diamandis’s background, education, and track record, he is someone to listen to when reflecting on the future of our world. Recognized as a key figure in the development of the personal spaceflight industry, Dismandis is the Founder and Chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation, an educational non-profit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. He is the co-founder and chairman of Singularity University which educates technology world changers in areas such as: AI, Robotics, Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Medicine, Neuroscience, Networks and Computing Systems, Energy and Environmental Systems, and has earned numerous awards and notable achievements.

So following Diamandis, let’s take a look at human progress over the last 100 years:

  • The average human lifespan has doubled
  • The average per capita income has tripled
  • Childhood mortality has come down a factor of 10
  • We are living during the most peaceful time ever in human history
  • Global literacy has gone from 25% to 80%

We have redefined what poverty is in the United States. Today people who live under the poverty line still have electricity, running water, toilets, refrigerators, and televisions. Thanks to the widespread availability of affordable Gexa Energy plans and other electricity provisions, powering a property is significantly more affordable compared to the past. 88% have mobile phones. 70% have a car and air conditioning.

A huge part of this increase in our human advantages has to do with technology and Moore’s Law, which explains that any tool that becomes an information technology, experiences price and performance doubling every 12 to 24 months. That’s why the cell phone in your pocket is literally a million times cheaper and a thousand times faster and smaller than the supercomputers of the 70s.

Let me break this down further than Diamandis does in this TED video. Gordon Moore, the co-founder and former chairman of Intel, observed in 1965, that the power of computing devices was doubling every two years. Computer chips were becoming smaller and smaller and cost was dropping as a result. He predicted that this would go on indefinitely…nearly 45 years later this theory still holds. It’s an exponential equation (doubling every two years) that applies to all technology and that is why our world is ever changing, ever improving.

10 years ago, a computer that had the same performance of the smartphone in your pocket, would have cost $20,000.

Diamandis explains that if we objectively observe the world we really live in…abundance is inevitable. This abundance he speaks of is not about creating a life of luxury for everyone, but rather, creating a life of possibility.

Energy crisis? Yes we are currently in one. But we are on a planet that is bathed in 5,000 times more energy than we use in a year. 16 terawatts (a unit of power equal to a million megawatts) of energy hit the surface of the planet every 88 minutes from the Sun. It’s not that energy is scarce, instead our problem is about accessibility. The cost of solar generated electricity is 50% less than that of diesel electricity. The cost of solar (based on what the technology is costing us now) dropped 50% last year. MIT just published a study that showed that by the end of this decade, solar power will cost only six cents an hour, this will cause many households and families to switch over to solar energy providers similar to Sandbar Solar & Electric as well as the many others within the industry.

Next, if we have abundant energy, we also have abundant water. Our planet is blue because we live on a water planet. 70% covered in water. Today humans fight over only a half a percent of this water…because 97% of the water is salt water. But we already have access to technology that can solve this problem…Dean Kamen has invented a solution that creates clean water from any source (polluted water, salt water, etc.) This machine, called Slingshot, is about the size of a washer machine and while it’s not currently low in cost… according to Moore’s Law… it soon will be.

Advances such as these are happening in all areas of our world: health care, education, communication, the list goes on.

The biggest force for bringing about a world of abundance is our human population. We just passed the 7 billion mark on earth and we know that the biggest protection against a population explosion is making the world healthy and educated. From the year 2000 to 2011 there was a growth in internet use of 528%. In other words, it went from 350 million users to 2 and a ¼ billion users. Consider what all these different and new minds can bring to table to help solve our world’s problems. We are becoming more connected and this is a good thing.

What encourages us to be confident about the future is that more than ever before, the individual, each and everyone of us, can take on problem solving the challenges we face within our world. The case for optimism is built on the fact that we have the tools of our exponential technology, we have the passion of the DIY inventors, we have the capital of the techno philanthropists, and we have billions of new minds coming online to work with us to solve the grand challenges. We are living into an extraordinary decade ahead.

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The Secret to Defeating Fear

Fear can be major challenge for many people. It can prohibit people from trying new things and learning new experiences. Being fearless can be a major challenge, but  it can be done.

Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave instructions for the battle.

The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?”

Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.”

Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?”

Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.”

In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear. -Pema Chödrön from Heart Advice

In conclusion, being fearless can help you conquer your fear. If you want to learn more about fear and how to overcome this in both your professional and personal life, our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer complimentary 25-minute phone sessions.

Who We Are When We’re Not Addicted

Addiction is the conditioned mind controlling who you are and can look like street-dwelling drug addicts all the way to high-functioning workaholics. And yet addiction in it’s subtler forms is something that all of us face. Unfortunately, addiction is unhealthy, particularly when it’s to something that could potentially kill you, like illegal drugs. No one wants to be an addict, and there’s no reason that someone should suffer through addiction. Luckily, there are sober living centres that you can read more about that are sure to put you on the right track to recovery.

Dr. Gabor Maté, author of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction, takes on the obstacle of addiction which he defines simply as any behavior that follows this process: wanting, craving, temporary relief when you get it, and an inability to give it up despite negative consequences.

So who are we when we are not addicted? It’s who we are in the moments we are not controlled by the wanting, thinking mind. Dr. Maté recalls meeting some indigenous people in Malaysia while walking in the jungle and noticing how they were: absolutely grounded in themselves, present, neither afraid nor aggressive, they seemed to feel safe and rooted in their world. He contrasts this with the neurotic consciousness of our world, where many are troubled and uncomfortable in their own skin. The point is not to idealize indigenous people but to note that it’s possible to be like that. It is not something we are evolving into, but qualities that already exist.

Dr. Maté proposes that not achieving this grounded state is not a personal failure but a cultural one…that it takes vigilance not to be addicted in this society. Vigilance, and perhaps the help and intervention of groups such as Recovery Circle to help steer you to a clearer path. He also observes that the individual degree of wanting is related to how much emptiness that individual experiences which is then related to what occurred early in that individual’s life.

“The heart of addiction is loss and pain. The big loss is not that your mother or father didn’t love you in a complete enough way…the big loss is that you lost the connection to yourself.” Addiction is our response to, and the unsustainable way we attempt to cope with, being disconnected from our essence.

There is hope…on some level nothing is lost…our essence is there to be found if we look. Our problems are simply opportunities to learn and grow. Maté suggests the following qualities are needed to get to the place where we are comfortable in our own skin:

  1. Compassion for the Self. Self love is not necessarily an emotion but rather what we do to support our learning, healing, and care. Work to increase self compassion, self kindness, and self love. Notice the ways you already love yourself. Be open to thinking you are worth it…that you deserve to get back in touch with yourself. This is the quality that gets you the help or support you need to make a change.
  2. Be willing to look at what’s really there. Increase awareness, decrease denial. Have the courage to take an honest look at how things actually are.
  3. Dis-identify with the experience of addiction. Let go of identifying ourselves with the experience. We are not cancer, or diabetes…rather these are ailments some of us experience. There is a value in realizing we can have a different experience in this-now-moment.
  4. Be able to answer the question: What experiences are you creating for yourself that keep you in these addictive patterns?

The healing begins when we ask: How do I reconnect with myself?

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Listen to Your Life

Listen to Your Life

See it for the fathomless mystery that it is.

In the boredom and pain of it,

no less than in the excitement and gladness:

touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it,

because in the last analysis all moments are key moments,

and life itself is grace.

Frederick Buechner

What If This Were Your Last Day? Then Would You Live in the Moment?

I once had a roommate who was followed by death. She was a bit older then I was at the time, I in my mid-twenties, she in her mid-fifties. Susan was an interesting woman that went on dates almost every night of the week, travelled extensively, and had a beautiful condo in Chicago. She didn’t need a roommate, she just wanted company and someone to take care of her cat when she was out of town. She had fur coats, jewelry, and amazing stories…and I, paying very little for rent, got to share space with this living-out-loud woman in divine style. Susan really knew how to live and she explained to me…late at night while telling me her stories…that her rich life was directly correlated with all the loss she had experienced.

Susan’s chronicles were so poignant that I absorbed her life lessons without having to experience them myself. Bottom line…she had endured an incredible amount of death in her life and as a result she vowed to never do anything she didn’t want to be doing in her last moment on earth. For example, if we were about to do something fun…but she found out there was someone coming with she didn’t like, she might say, “I can’t accept dying with that person. I have to decline.” In other words, if that night, while driving we died in an accident, she didn’t want it to be with that particular person. She’d take a pass. This might seem like an eccentricity…and maybe it is…but she was so consistent, that it made a distinct impression on me. And even now, years since we’ve lost touch, I really don’t go a week without thinking about my life in terms of impermanence. Have you ever thought about this as you go through your day? Are you willing to experiment and report back your findings?

I’ve never found reflecting on death as morbid, although I’m sure some might. I simply consider the unpredictability of our future an easy tool for keeping in the present moment. It gives true perspective. And it helps with the letting go of small, petty, ego concerns. In reality, we don’t know what’s around the corner, there are no guarantees, and this-now-moment is the only the thing we really have.

We’ve all heard the stories of near death experiences and people who turn their lives around, suddenly realizing what’s most important to them. Then there are the books like Tuesdays With Maury or The Last Lecture where wisdom is given from those who are dying. Apparently death is a force that helps people let go of all the day-to-day petty crap that people tend to get caught up in. In the experience of dying (which we will all go through at some point) we are able to separate the wheat from the chaff; subtract what is worthwhile from what is useless. A fog clears and we are finally able to see. And what do people report? That money, possessions, and pursuits that feed our egos, are no longer fulfilling. That arguments and resentments no longer hold any temptation. Instead, connecting with others, family, being true to oneself, a sense of service, observing the simple beauty in life, spirituality, basically things that provide intrinsic value, hold the most reward. Well, why do we have to wait until we’re dying? Why do we continue to pretend that we have forever to get our priorities straight? Instead….since there’s no better time than the present…let’s awaken to life now.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life 
I was a bride married to amazement. 
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder 
if I have made of my life something particular and real.
 I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened 
or full of argument. I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world. –Mary Oliver

Who Are Your Heroes? And What Have They Done For You Lately?

Motivational speaker and business growth expert Steven S. Little points out that we choose our heroes based not on their wealth accumulation or accolades but on something else. We remember our heroes for their effort, their values, and their ideas. We don’t remember how much money they made, but we recall the steps they took to get there, the process they followed, their trials and tribulations, and their reaction to these challenges. Furthermore, this is why some of the sports speakers that lead motivational talks are so inspiring. The sports industry is incredibly competitive and therefore we can learn useful lessons about tenacity and perseverance from sporting sensations. All this had me think of some of my heroes.

Before I even understood why I had heroes; I was utlizing them to motivate and inspire me. To give me hope for myself and to remind me of the deepest heart of humanity. Heroes infuse our world with meaning and serve as models for what we value.

Looking at who your heroes are and understanding what they truly represent or symbolize, is a way to understand your own deeper values. It’s a way to learn more about who it is that you really are.

I am going to share a couple of my heroes (although I have many.) I would love it if you would share some of yours, who they are, and what they represent to you. What it is they do for you…

I learned about Maya Angelou, many years ago when I first read her autobiographical book, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” At the time, I was completely blown away by her raw honesty in how she shared her life experiences and challenges. She exposed herself in a vulnerable way as I had never seen before. She taught me that if you were strong and brave you had nothing to hide. She tenaciously pushed herself beyond survival and into the life of her dreams. She was unafraid of being herself or if she was afraid, she stood tall and expressed who she was anyway…giving permission to anyone who was ever marginalized to boldly give their gift to the world. She published her first novel at 42 years of age, which deeply inspired the sense that it is never to late to begin a new dream. Today she has over 30 best-selling published works, and at last count, 30 honorary doctorate degrees. She is a true elder and lioness in our world community.

Zora Neale Hurston is a writer I was introduced to many years ago when I read her book Their Eyes Were Watching God. When you begin her book it can be challenging, because she was the first author to write in an African American dialect found in the south in the early 20th century. It can take a chapter or so to adjust to this different way with words, but suddenly you are in middle of an adventure of redemption and growth.
It was the first time I had ever read a “Hero’s Journey” with a woman as the protagonist. A “hero’s journey” is essentially a story of a character’s search for something incredibly important, they travel far from home to find this necessary thing, and while on the adventure they are transformed to their core by the challenges they face…and while we read a hero’s journey, it inspires us on our own paths of change and growth. It reminds us that we too can triumph against the odds.
Yet it wasn’t just this novel or her profoundly gifted and descriptive writing that I admired. It was also Hurston’s own story, because although she was a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance, a novelist and anthropologist who wrote 50 published short stories, plays, and essays, although she was a central figure in the preservation of African American folklore, and considered one of the most influential African American writers, regardless of all of this, because of the timeframe in which she lived, she also struggled with intense poverty, sexism, and racism. In 1960, when Hurston died, it was in destitution, and she was buried in an unmarked grave. In 1975, Alice Walker helped to revive an interest in Hurston’s work. Walker also found Hurston’s unmarked grave and erected a small monument to honor Zora Neale Hurston the woman and her significant contribution.

When I look over my heroes I see that they fight the odds, they stand up for themselves, their art, their passions, their beliefs. They are adventurers and pioneers. They are leaders. They are symbols of transformation. Most of all they are smart, tough, and dazzlingly alive.

Share your heroes with me. If you have forgotten who your heroes are maybe it’s time you discovered some. Then you can allow them to inspire and motivate some of your own greatest dreams.

The Voices In Your Head: How to be an Effective Coach to Yourself

We all talk to our selves in our heads. But have you ever taken the time to notice how you talk to yourself? In the field of psychology, they know that healthy, optimistic, happy people have internal self-talk that is supportive and encouraging. Whatever the state of your innermost conversation, more often than not this inner discourse was developed at a young age and has a lot to do with your childhood experiences.

So how’s the chatter in your head? Are you as kind to yourself as you are to other people? As you observe your internal voice, are you surprised by what you find? What tone or flavor does the voice take? Is it nurturing, kind, mellow, snarky, silly, or intense? Does it motivate you through goal setting and cheerleading or through threats? Do you notice that the voice changes based on your environment or whom you’re around? Does it come across different when you’re stressed? Do you tell yourself jokes and make yourself laugh? Or does your inner voice bring you down?

Many years ago, I heard about the concept of internal dialogue. As I began to pay attention, I must admit I was shocked by what I found. There were times when I was being downright beastly to myself. I worked to change this and over the years I have used my internal voice as a kind of barometer. If I begin to get negative with myself (or judgmental about other people for that matter), I see it as sign to stop what I am doing and notice what’s going on. Am I stressed or in fear? Do I need to make an adjustment to my self-care? What needs to change?

If you find that you don’t like aspects of how you talk to yourself, not to worry. The coolest thing about how our brains work and how we think, is that if we choose to, we can change it.

The first step is becoming aware of this inner voice. The next step is to replace the unsatisfying self-talk with something more productive. You cannot just stop thinking…you have to insert an alternative. One idea is to create a simple affirmation that you say every time you notice your inner voice going off course or being less than encouraging. Something like: “I love and accept myself for who I am,” or “Even though I have a problem, I am okay.” This affirmation can be anything that you find comforting or encouraging. For some it may have a spiritual angle. You know you’ve chosen the right affirmation when you notice it helps you breathe more deeply.

Some people think of this voice as the part of them that is coaching them along. When you are tired, that voice should be saying, “Time to rest. Why don’t you take a hot bath? You got a lot done today.“ What it shouldn’t be doing is running you ragged, urging you to do more and more. If you are someone who has procrastinated and let things pile up around you, the ideal internal voice will encourage you with goals and rewards: “Tell you what, you get that one pile done and then it’s time for a break.” What it shouldn’t be doing is beating you up or berating you. One reason top athletes, CEOs, and many others, pay coaches to help them reach their goals, is because having someone on your side works. Are you on your side?

If you are skeptical about how this could affect your life, or even if you’re not, I encourage you to do an experiment. For the next month, choose a positive affirmation, and say it in the morning, whenever negative self-talk arises or whenever you could use some encouragement, and as you go to sleep at night. Make a commitment to do this everyday for one month. Then see what happens; notice what changes.

Some of you may already have mastered the art of internal self-coaching, if you have any thoughts or suggestions, please share with us. I invite anyone to leave questions or comments as well.