Be Careful What You Ask For

Be careful what you ask forI spent this past weekend celebrating my fiancé’s belated birthday in San Francisco. Living within 10 miles of the city it’s not unusual for us to spend a night in town. Yet what was lusciously different for us this time was that we chose a completely different neighborhood in which to hang out. This time we stayed in Japantown.

I’m a native San Franciscan and have lived a majority of my life in the Bay Area, yet I’m embarrassed to say that I have never stepped foot in Japantown until this weekend. It reminded me of how getting out of my ruts always leads me to look at life with a fresh pair of eyes.

This weekend I realized how important it is to focus on what I have been able to create in my life instead of where I am lagging behind in where I want to be. It’s so easy for me to fall into the trap of thinking that my business isn’t doing this or that while totally losing sight of how blessed I am to have a business that enables me to spend every day working with my fiance and very best friend. My instincts tell me this will be far more important as I reflect back on my life at its end than my client list and annual revenues.

Thoughts Taking Form

Be careful what you ask for. I went to Maui for the first time in the summer of 2002 for a retreat with best-selling inspirational author Alan Cohen. One of the memorable exercises for me was describing to a partner what an ideal day would look like. I found myself sharing something that I’d never given deep thought to yet it felt right at the time. I shared that I’d love to have a business that my significant other was a part of. I was single at the time working in a corporate job and partnership had eluded me for several years. So this idea seemed like a pipe-dream that I never expected would come to fruition.

I met Dean five years later and when his business came to a fork I seized the opportunity to ask him to join me in mine.

This weekend I was reminded of how powerful it is to be aware of desires that you have that may not be a part of your daily consciousness. You have to be in touch with what you want before you can reach out to claim what you want when the opportunities present themselves.

How to Stay Focused on Your Goal

Is there something that you wish to achieve or create in your life, yet you lack the confidence in yourself to follow through? Here are some tips for staying relentlessly focused on your goal.

  1. Break your goal into executable steps.
  2. Recognize that the key to achieving your goals is following through with the necessary steps.
  3. Assign a schedule for each step and commit it to your calendar.
  4. Use your calendar as your “to do” list. If you can’t get to a step on the scheduled date, reschedule it. Keep the step on your calendar until its completion.
  5. If you are feeling resistance to following through with a particular step, get in touch with the belief that is in your way.
  6. Replace the limiting belief with an idea that empowers you to move forward. Get inspired from someone who believes in you.
  7. Hold yourself responsible for the life you create. Don’t allow room for regrets!

Finding Clues of Guidance in the Midst of Everyday Life

I have just returned from BookExpo America (BEA), the book industry’s annual event held this year at the Los Angeles Convention Center, where I went to promote the debut of my book, Inner Architect: How to Build the Life You Were Designed to Live. I expected the experience to be one of value, learning, and building relationships. What I didn’t expect was to discover what occurred to me while I mentally noted the highlights of the event during our final day. As I focused on these highlights, I saw a common thread that weaved throughout the launch of my book that would have totally bypassed my consciousness had I not stopped to casually review. I believe this common thread provides a direction for me that I would not have taken seriously had the energy of life not have shoved it in my face.

I’d like to share my clues and my perception of the guidance they provide, and then invite you to look at recent, or not so recent, events in your life where there might be direction sitting there for you.

Clue #1: My company, inner architect, published the book using a standard off-set printer who specializes in the book industry. Upon our request for production samples, the printer we ultimately chose sent us two books published by Hay House. I didn’t think anything more about this at the time than the printer wanted to promote that they had a well known, prestigious client.

Clue #2: Louise Hay author and founder of Hay House, happened to be autographing books in the Hay House booth at BEA while my partner, Dean and I walked by. Dean took my bashful arm and led me to stand next to him in the line to meet Louise. When it was our turn to greet her, Dean introduced me and thanked her for the inspiration she provided to us to launch our publishing company. Once again, I didn’t take this for anything more than shear luck of being in the right place at the right time to meet Louise Hay, a woman I respect and honor for her contribution to the human development movement.

Clue #3: Later that day at BEA we stopped to talk with a man promoting international distribution services. We proudly showed him our new book and he responded with a comment about it being along the lines of what Hay House publishes. He went on to tell us that a company that had recently lost the Hay House account would likely welcome something to replace it. I felt encouraged by his comment, yet didn’t see the meaning in this exchange until I put all three of these clues together.

My interpretation of these clues: I was led to look at a woman who I deeply admire as a model for my own work in a way that I had never considered on my own.

What to take away from my experience:

  1. Look at the events that unfold in your life as having meaningful messages for you.
  2. Take the messages that you interpret seriously, even if they seem grander than visions you’ve created for yourself.
  3. Trust that these messages are meant to lead you in the direction where you will find the most fulfillment.
  4. Believe that you are capable in carrying out these messages and commit to doing the steps that will see it through.

7 Steps to Create Change

I was overweight throughout grammar school and up until my second year of college. I grew up seeing myself as an overweight person. After numerous failed diets throughout the years, it became a stretch for me to consider that I would ever be anything but overweight. One morning when I was 19, I got out of bed anticipating a party that I was going to that night. I realized that I was sick of being overweight. I decided that I was willing to do what it took to change my weight. I took one day at a time, making healthy choices and changing the way I ate. Within a few months I dropped 40 pounds and changed my lifestyle forever. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was following the key to success in creating any change.

7 Steps to Successfully Create Change:

  1. Declare that you are no longer willing to tolerate a particular habit or way of being.
  2. Identify the specific things you need to do differently to change.
  3. Acknowledge that you are in complete control of your actions.
  4. Recognize the process of change as being day by day.
  5. Commit to making the desired actions for that particular day.
  6. If you fall down, forgive yourself and start fresh.
  7. At the end of each day, honor your ability to make the choice you want and create the change you desire.

www.innerarchitect.com

12 Steps to Make Your Dream Your Life

I delivered the pdf file for my upcoming book, Inner Architect: How to Build the Life You Were Designed to Live, to the printer this past Thursday. On Friday afternoon something incredible hit me. I am in the process of bringing life to my dream! Holy cow. Why did it take me so long to see clearly what is right in front of me? What was I thinking to expect that one single event would bring my dream to life? It really is all about baby steps.

Three years ago this month, I walked away from a successful 20-year career in the corporate world to follow a dream. It hasn’t been an easy journey, that’s for sure, and I’ve got a ways to go. But I can see now that I am on my way.

Your way to your dream can be found in these steps:

  1. Recognize that you have the choice to create a different life.
  2. Believe that it is possible to successfully build your dream.
  3. Define the obstacles that are holding you back.
  4. Replace your obstacles with ideas that support you.
  5. Give credibility to the desires of your heart and learn to trust it.
  6. Outline your training and development needs.
  7. Crystallize your vision.
  8. Identify your major goals.
  9. Define the steps necessary to achieve your goals.
  10. Stay committed to doing the necessary work.
  11. Support your external work with thoughts that help to build it.
  12. See yourself now in the beginning stages of your new life.

I Can: The Secret to the Life You Want

Worry is nothing more than holding mental pictures of things you do not want.

–from I Can, by Ben Sweetland

I found this passage yesterday in the very first self-help book I ever bought. I can’t remember when or where I got my copy of I Can. All I know is that it is the 1978 edition of the book originally copyrighted in 1953.

The memory of this book came to me as I was thinking about my dreams for my work life and fighting the doubts that were darting through my mind. It was as if I was wrestling with what I knew I believed about my own potential and possibilities intellectually versus the doubtful thinking that seems to come so naturally. I really do believe I can do or be anything. But why does it have to be so hard fighting off the demons trying to tell me otherwise?

Can you relate?

How to Get into the True Spirit of the Holidays

Something that my hairdresser, George, said to me very casually yesterday has stuck with me. George asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I replied by saying that all I wanted was for my new business, innerarchitect, to be a success in the New Year. I then threw the same question back at George. He replied quickly that he just wanted his health. You see, George has recently been diagnosed with Lymphoma. He continued on saying that he has everything he needs and then finished with a statement so simple, yet one that speaks to the truth of life:

It doesn’t matter what you got.
All that matters is what you gave.

Thank you, George. May healthy cells populate your glands.

Here’s to the true spirit of the holidays.

Peace, joy and love
Susan