What Simone Biles can teach us about mindset

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Did you see Simone Biles stumble during her balance beam routine in Rio? If you didn’t catch it live, it was still hard to miss. The media replayed her stumble again and again, accompanied by their gloomy commentary:

“Simone Biles stumbles on balance beam, settles for bronze”

“Simone Biles’ quest for five golds in Rio halted by bronze in balance beam.”

As a mother and as a life coach who helps women move away from the trap of perfectionism, the negative spin made me cringe.

“Good grief,” I grumbled to myself. “Is this how the media is going to shape Simone’s story, with an emphasis on “falling short”? At this point, she had already won three golds and had just medaled again, this time earning a bronze. Those are epic accomplishments!

Fortunately, I didn’t need to stew for long. What unfolded in the follow-up interviews with Simone blew me away – with delight. Although the media tried to make the story about disappointment, she would have nothing of it.

SHE would write her story.

In interview after interview, Simone pushed back on the negative spin and directed the emphasis where it belonged – on a story of accomplishment, right-sized reflection, and intention fulfilled. I loved witnessing her strong sense of self and sparkling growth mindset.

Here are highlights of Simone’s take on her performance:

1. “I’m not disappointed in the medal that I received, because anyone would love to have a bronze at an Olympic Games.”

Love it. She is choosing to celebrate what she’s accomplished. An Olympic bronze? Hardly “settling.” It’s a BIG deal.

2. “But I’m disappointed in the routine that I did – not so much the whole routine – just the front tuck, because the rest of the routine was pretty good.”

So spot on. Here she helps educate and broaden our understanding: Every routine is made up of many, many moves. To let one move define an entire routine is oversimplified and unfair. Yes, she acknowledges disappointment in one move – the front tuck. But, she appropriately puts the stumble in context and chooses to pay attention to the many, many moves that went well.

3. “I think you guys want it [five golds] more than I do. I just want to perform the routines that I practice.”

Beautiful. I love how strong and clear she is in her stance. She had no interest in carrying the burden of others’ expectations of her. That’s not her job. Her job was to focus on her intention – to perform the routines she’s practiced. Her priority was process, not outcome.

4. And, last, Simone showed her confident good humor when she tweeted this:

Simone tweet

So, what can Simone teach us about mindset?
1. Success is how you define it.
2. Acknowledge what didn’t work, but don’t let it overshadow what DID work.
3. Stay grounded in your intent. It will guide you.
4. Keep your sense of humor.

Cultivate Positive Energy in Your Life

HEALTH graphicPeople often ask me, “What’s an intentional home?” My short answer is, “A home that looks good and feels good.”

Today, I want to share my long answer – one I really want you to know – because it’s been a game changer for me and might be for you, too.

Many of you know I’m a certified Feng Shui practitioner and have been for over a decade. Simply put, Feng Shui is an ancient art that enhances the energy flow in a home to support health and happiness for all who live there.

The principles of energy flow I studied in my training were transformational for me. Although the discipline is grounded in tangible changes to your environment, it’s much more than that. It’s a philosophy that helps you cultivate positive energy in all parts of your life. The value of doing this resonates deeply with me.

One thing that helps me cultivate this positive energy is a Feng Shui tool called the bagua. It’s a mental “map” that shows how every part of your home corresponds to a part of your life – literally. I know this may sound woo-woo to you. It did to me at first, too.

But, honestly, you don’t have to believe it to receive the benefits. If making this leap is too much, just think of it as a metaphor.

I made this leap 14 years ago – seeing my home as a metaphor for my life – and it’s been incredibly powerful.

Here’s just one example.
While I was going through my Feng Shui training program, I was also suffering from chronic back pain (a yoga injury). Despite diligent efforts and steroid shots, nothing was helping me heal. I became increasingly discouraged and began to wonder if I would be in chronic pain for the rest of my life.

Then, through my training, I learned something very interesting – the center of your home supports your health. So, in theory, if I enhanced the energy flow in this area (in my house, a hallway closet), it could help my back heal?

I’ll be honest, I thought this sounded kooky. And yet, when you’re in chronic pain, you become open-minded pretty quickly. What harm could it do?

So, I shifted the energy in my closet. In this case, it meant I decluttered it – and while I was doing it – I set an INTENTION to stay open to the possibility that my back would heal.

Nothing happened immediately, of course. But over the following 6 months, possibilities emerged. Two different people – who didn’t know each other – told me about a form of body work that might help (Rolfing). After thorough research, I decided to give it a try. Over the course of several sessions, my back healed.

Now, do I believe shifting the energy in my closet healed my back? Truthfully, I don’t know. (I’m not ruling it out, though. There’s a lot of mystery in the world.) But, I firmly believe it played an important role.

I know that setting an intention in this particular part of my home caused a shift in my thinking. This shift helped me become more aware and trust that an unexpected path to healing could emerge.

Ever since then, I have fully embraced the idea that my home is a metaphor for my life. I regularly use the bagua to help me focus, set intentions, and cultivate the good health and happiness I want for myself and my family. It has made a difference.

1 Thing You Need to Create a Home You Love

HOME frontLast week I was at a friend’s house for brunch. As her circle of friends settled in and got acquainted, one woman (whom I’ll call Kellie,) complimented the hostess on her cozy home.

“It feels so relaxing and welcoming,” Kellie sighed. “I wish I could make my home feel like this, but I just can’t seem to find the time. I work all day, come home to make dinner, help my daughter with homework, make lunches, and suddenly it’s bedtime. I don’t know why I can’t just move it forward.”

As I listened, I could see one big reason why she couldn’t “move it forward.” She’s BUSY! Being a committed professional, dedicated parent, and family chef takes a tremendous amount of time and energy – a lot more than we give ourselves credit for.

Still, I heard her sentiment loud-and-clear: she has a strong yearning for a home that reflects who she is and what’s important to her. She wants to change her experience from “my house is fine” to “I love my home.”

Later that day, I couldn’t stop thinking about Kellie’s frustration and her desire to create her own special corner of the world through her home.

Here’s what I want to say to her and anyone else in this situation:

Creating a home you love is easier than you think. Making the transformation from “just fine” to “LOVE IT” with your home doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money. In fact, it takes just 3 simple ingredients:

1. Get clear on your intent.
2. Start with things you already own that please you.
3. Optimize the energy flow.

Today I want to talk about #1, Get Clear on Your Intent, because it’s the KEY ingredient. When I work with clients, helping them identify 2-3 intentions for their home is one of my favorite parts of the transformation process. I love helping them excavate what they truly want for their lives at this point in time. Even when they may not have an immediate answer, something real and true always emerges in our conversation.

And although the answers I hear are unique, everyone’s intentions share a universal trait — they are heartfelt and spark an expansive feeling of “yes, that’s it!”

Here are a few sample intentions from my clients:

• “Our kids are growing up so fast. I want to create a home that helps us stay connected as a family.”

• “My husband’s health is declining, and I want our home to feel positive and joyful, now more than ever.”

• “I want to create a home that connects me with nature and community. I don’t want to feel isolated like I did in my last home.”

• “I’m getting married and want to set up our home for a happy, abundant life together.”

Starting with the key ingredient – get clear on your intent – is critical, because it connects you to your heart, unlocks your intrinsic motivation, and fuels action.

Trust me on this – once you identify your intention/s, you miraculously have an abundance of time and energy. I’ve seen this again and again with my clients and myself. It’s surprising what you can accomplish when fueled by the bountiful energy of your focused intention.

Try it and see.
What feeling do you want to create in your home? Take a moment to listen to your heart, then craft it as an intention. Next, what is one small step you could take today to get you on your way?

Warmly,
Ann
Where intention goes, energy flows.®

My Intentional Home :: Part 2, The Front Door

Version 2First, a brief recap.

My family is going through a major transition. In August, our firstborn left for college. Wow, what a change for all of us! Rather than mindlessly floundering through this transition (I tried that, and it felt yucky), I decided to take this as an opportunity to celebrate my son’s new chapter by beginning my own new chapter.

Because I’m a certified Feng Shui practitioner, I instinctively turned to this rich, Eastern philosophy to help me focus my efforts.

Here are highlights of my second project.

Project 2: My front door.

My intention: To invite new opportunity into my life and business by painting my front door.

In Feng Shui, the front door is hugely important. Symbolically, it’s your calling card to the world and the entrance through which opportunity flows into your life. Therefore, you want it to radiate good energy and be attractive.

Project length: One weekend.

Unexpected delights: The teal color I chose matches my Good Intentions logo. I didn’t start out with that goal, it just unfolded.

Challenges: I’m really finicky about color. I thought I had picked the right shade, but once I saw it on my door, it was too pale. So, back to Home Depot I went to buy another quart and start over. In the end, it took twice the effort, but it was worth it to get it right.

Happy outcomes: My pretty new door color lifts my energy every time I look at it. It’s clean and fresh. It’s symbolic importance reminds me to seek new opportunities and stay open to ones I can’t see. Much to my pleasure, good things are already flowing in.

Tip: If you decide to paint your door, pick a color you would look good wearing.

Photo highlights:

BEFORE
Nice, but it was time for a change.
Front door berry

AFTER
I love it! My family does, too.
Front door
‘Til next installment of The Half-Empty Nest. 😉

My Intentional Home, part 1 :: The Closet

IMG_3406My family is going through a major transition; in August, our older son left for college. I’m thrilled for him as he starts a new chapter of his life.

After careful thought, I’ve decided I’m thrilled for me, too. Yes, I miss him and have cried about it. Yes, the house feels icky-quiet sometimes. But he is off doing what he’s supposed to be doing, and he’s happy. So why not embrace the change this is bringing for all of us? It sure beats the alternative.

Therefore, with optimistic resolve, I have set my intention to move through this “half-empty nest” transition with acceptance, positivity, and even excitement. To guide me, I am instinctively drawing upon my Feng Shui expertise. (I can’t help myself. It’s how I view the world).

Here are highlights of my first project.

Project 1: My closet.

My intention: To refresh my personal chi by breathing fresh energy into my wardrobe.

Project length: One intense week. (Half the family was out-of-town, so I seized the opportunity for a bigger project).

Unexpected delights: With the clutter gone, I can see new combinations of clothes. Hey, this is fun! Also, I discovered jewelry I’d forgotten about, particularly some special things I inherited from my mother-in-law. Very nice.

Challenges: Staying motivated until the very end. A few bits are still lingering: taking a skirt to the tailor (I’ve been driving around with it in the car for weeks now) and polishing my tarnished silver jewelry. In the scheme of things, though, this is small potatoes compared to how much ground I covered.

Happy outcomes: I’m reacquainted with what I own, my closet looks pretty and inviting, and the clothes I kept make me feel good. Chi lifted…check.

Tip: If it doesn’t make you feel good, get rid of it.

Photo highlights:

I like organizing my clothes by color and using identical wood hangers. It makes deciding what to wear a pleasant experience.
IMG_3401
I bought this bracelet stand at Target. I love it. Although it’s currently out-of-stock, I think they’re getting more.
IMG_3403

Eek – loads of jewelry to polish….
Hmm. Maybe this weekend, I’ll put on a podcast of “On Being with Krista Tippett” and polish away. That flips it from tedious to kinda fun.
IMG_3428

‘Til next installment of The Half-Empty Nest. 😉

Mindfulness Isn’t Always Pretty

“Don’t close the door and expect me to hear you!” I sharply bellowed to my teenage son from my office. “Come HERE and talk to me.”

It was an urgent moment…my heart was pounding and my patience was potato chip thin. Five minutes prior, I was intently at my desk working on a deadline. The next thing I knew, my son stormed my office in a panic and started barking orders while hovering over me and texting in my ear.

My stress response went from 2 to 10 in one whirling dervish moment. Then, as quickly as he came, he left and closed the door behind him, leaving me all whipped up and bellowing after him.

Why the drama? There wasn’t a life-threatening situation at hand. We weren’t even in the middle of a heated argument. Here’s what happened: Last week he advanced to a national school competition (hooray!), and he just got a text from his teacher, urging everyone in the group to book a particular flight ASAP. When we did a quick check, we saw there were only 4 seats left. Uh-oh. The urgency ramped up.

Did I handle this moment with zen-like calm? Definitely not. Did I see the joy and humor in the scramble? Not a shred. I do remember swearing a few times, though.

But then, twenty minutes into the frantic dash, I had a moment. I became aware of my stressed out, knee-jerk response. I noticed it. Hmmmm.

What came next was a small gift. I started to relax, just a little. I even laughed once. Interestingly, my son relaxed a little, too, and laughed, too. The stress meter started to go down. And, bonus, we got him on the flight.

This, to me, is what mindfulness looks like in real life. It’s not some super-human ability to stay calm, present, and on-point. It’s quite the opposite. It’s a day-to-day, moment-by-moment practice of trying, and often falling short, to be aware of my thoughts and actions. This awareness gives me freedom to enjoy my response or choose something different. That’s all.

Some moments I do it better than others. That’s why it’s a practice. But for me, the effort is always worth it.

A Radiant Beam of Light

A moment of positivity is a wonderful thing. It can untangle a knot of insecurity in one radiant beam. Recently, I was reminded of this at parent-teacher conferences for my son.

I was chatting with my son’s Spanish teacher, Mr. Owens. As we were wrapping up, I looked over my shoulder to see if the next parent was waiting in line. Nope. Excellent, because I wasn’t ready to leave. Not just yet.

I had a question I’d been fretting about for 25 years. And because Mr. Owens seemed so caring and positive, I made up my mind: the time was right to ask it.

But first, let’s flashback to 1978. I was in junior high Spanish class, Day 1. Señorita Currie briskly entered the classroom and spoke to us in Spanish…exclusively. Uh-oh. As the period progressed, the other students seemed to catch on. I did not, however. I had no idea what she was saying.

For the next 45 minutes, my heart raced and my ears buzzed. A knot of insecurity formed in my stomach. “How will I ever survive this class?” I worried.

Well, I did survive, because I learned how to compensate with written homework. But my struggle to understand conversation followed me through four years of study. Privately, I came to an obvious, disappointing conclusion – “I’m not good at languages.”

Now, flash forward to 2012 — full-blown adult life. After a whirlwind, first-ever trip to France, I fell in love with Paris and vowed, “I will return someday!” To keep the dream alive, I decided to take a French class.

Starting a new language was exhilarating! But, as I advanced, the deer-in-the-headlight feeling returned.

So did the nagging belief I’m not good at languages. And this time, with the help of the internet, I had even identified a plausible self-diagnosis – “auditory processing disorder.” (Thanks, Dr. Google).

Finally, let’s return to 2015. I’m now sitting across the table from Mr. Owens, and I see my opportunity. Surely, in his years of teaching Spanish, he’s come across students with my condition. Surely, he could shed light on this, once and for all.

So, I took a deep breath, and my question tumbled out: “Are some people not able to learn a language?”

He paused and quizzically replied, “Tell me more.” I quickly poured out my story, complete with my armchair diagnosis. (I know this probably sounds ridiculously dramatic, but I was feeling very vulnerable. I braced myself, ready for confirmation that, indeed, there was no hope for me. Au revoir, Paris.)

But that’s not what came next.

Smiling, Mr. Owens said, “I think learning a language is a lot like an unfolding flower. It takes time to unfold.” Then, he leaned forward and added, “You speak English beautifully. You learned that language well.”

I was speechless. As his words sunk in, I began to grin from ear-to-ear. I learned to speak English. Of course, I can learn another language!

Ka-pow!

A 25-year insecurity, a false belief, was untangled by one radiant beam of light. I’m sure Mr. Owens had no idea how much his words meant to me.

A moment of positivity is a wonderful thing.

Merci beaucoup, Monsieur Owens. Merci.

How about you? Is there a limiting belief that is holding on to you? Is it time to bring it into the light?

LIFE IS MEASURED IN MOMENTS

Before speaking to a group or leading a workshop, I always set an intention for myself. It goes something like this: “I open myself to offering a moment of encouragement or inspiration to someone today.” This simple focus calms my nerves and reminds me I can’t control how, or if, my message lands. My job is to put in the effort, let it flow, and stay open to what unfolds.

A few weeks ago, I led an Intention Workshop at a women’s retreat. There were lots of nice moments during the workshop, yet there was a particularly special moment that unfolded after the workshop.

A woman I’ll call Stacey arrived just as we were finishing up. As the women in the group gathered their things and left for their next activity, Stacey lingered.

“How was the workshop?” she wistfully asked. “I really wanted to make it, but I had to drop off my kids at their friends’ houses, and we were running late.”

Boy, do I get that. One of the hardest things for us women to do is give ourselves permission to take time for ourselves, then call on favors to make it happen.

I pointed to the white board and gave her a quick summary of what we’d discussed. She nodded intently and continued to linger.

Hmm. Okay. I then walked her over to a table covered with Intention Cards and gave her another quick overview, this time of the activity we’d done. She nodded intently and, again, continued to linger.

Suddenly, I got it. Even though the workshop was over, she needed a workshop. Right now.

Opening to the moment, herpes treatment I invited her to pick three Intention Cards that were speaking to her today. She eventually narrowed it to one: KINDNESS.

Holding the card gingerly, she whispered, “I’ve been so short with my family lately…so hard on them. I think maybe if I were kinder to myself, I would be kinder to them.”

There it was. Her raw, tender, deeply felt need: self-kindness. Taking an index card, I carefully wrote a simple intention and handed it to her, for her consideration:

“I open myself to one moment of self-kindness today.”

She took it, held it over her heart, and started to cry. I gently asked her if the intention felt doable. She paused and tentatively said, “Yes, I think so.” I smiled and shared that, actually, she’s already fulfilled her intention, because she did herself the kindness of coming to the retreat. She smiled and breathed deeply. Then, she dabbed her eyes, pulled herself together, and left to join the boisterous conversation in the hallways.

As I returned to tidying up the room, I steeped in the moment, so grateful for our time together.

Hack to gain followers to gain Musically ? Explained

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