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In Confidence: Envision the Life You Want to Lead

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Here’s an exercise that will help you visualize the life you want to lead.  Allow about 15 minutes to do this exercise; more if you include the written exercise at the end of this exercise.

Sit or lie down in a quiet place.  Close your eyes.

In your mind’s eye, imagine you are standing at the top of a lovely set if stairs in beautiful surroundings – outdoors or indoors.  If you would prefer instead, you could see yourself in a beautiful glass elevator from which you have a fabulous view.  Use whichever means is most comfortable for you.

Count backwards from 20 (twenty) down to 1 (one).  For every number you say slowly, see yourself going down a step or descending one floor.  Don’t rush through the experience, allow yourself to fully relax as you descend.

Once you reach the number one, see yourself entering into a place that you feel and know is safe and peaceful.

It can be anywhere or anything that you imagine it to be.  Allow yourself to take in the sights, the sounds, the smells, the tactile feelings (e.g., a warm breeze against your cheek).

Imagine there is a beautiful place to sit down, surrounded by your peaceful scene.

Sit down.

Now, let yourself really imagine the life that you want to live.  See your life unfold as you want it to be – living the life you want to be living.

See yourself confidently doing the things you want to do.  Experience the feelings you would feel as you live this life.  Tune into the thoughts you are having as you go about your best life.

Sit for 5 minutes imagining and envisioning the life you want to lead in this peaceful environment.

After 5 minutes, in your mind’s eye, stand up and look around you.  Be grateful for all you have experienced here.  Say goodbye to your peaceful surroundings and return to the set of 20 stairs or the glass elevator.  Know that you can return here any time.

Now slowly count up from 1 (one) to 20 (twenty), ascending one step or one floor at a time.  As you ascend, feel a renewed sense of calmness and gentle energy warming your body, mind and spirit.

Once you reach the 20th step or floor feeling fully relaxed and gently energized, open your eyes.  Gently stretch.  Relax your shoulders, take in a deep breath and let it out with a pleasant sigh.

Suggested Written Exercise to Reinforce the Visualization:

When you have an opportunity, write about your experience.  Here are some questions for you to consider answering:

  • What were you feeling, thinking, and doing in the visualization?
  • What skills, assets, talents and strengths did you see yourself using?
  • Did you observe yourself using any new strengths or talents?

©2012

Kate Sanner

CEO and Founder of Vivacity®

http://VivacityNow.com

Coach and Consultant at KateSanner.com

A Division of Vivacity®

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Persistence – Taking the Passive Route Through Frustration on the Way to Success

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Authors Alex Haley, Margaret Mitchell and Jack London all practiced it. Inventor Thomas Edison, industrialist Henry Ford and explorer Sir Edmund Hillary are noted for it. Director Steven Spielberg recognized the value of it at an early age.

What do these people have in common? Persistence. Without it classic books, indispensable inventions, incredible accomplishments and great movies would never have been actualized. Each of these people attained notable achievements by never giving up.

And though these stories serve to inspire us, it isn’t always easy to remember them when we are caught up in the day to day struggles of building a business or achieving a goal like writing a book.

No…most days aren’t spent in exhilarating thoughts of planting a flag at the top of a mountain or seeing your book on the New York Times Best Seller List. Many days are spent feeling a bit like Sisyphus, the classic character from Greek mythology whom many see as the poster boy for futility.

Because he defied and outwitted the gods (the arrogant gods never liked seeing arrogance in their creations), Sisyphus received the punishment of having to roll a large stone up a mountain, reach the top and then watch it roll back down only to trudge back down to do it all again.

So how do you get through the day to day frustrations encountered on the road to your greatness? What do you do when there are way too many Sisyphusian days?  Here are three tips for persisting in a more passive rather than active way:

1.  Persist through not doing rather than doing 

When the going gets tough, take a nap, take a day off, meet with friends or watch a mindless TV show or movie. In other words, get in some quality down time. Down time is essential – it really does refuel your creative mental energy.

2.  Practice mindfulness

When the inevitable breakdowns and frustrations overwhelm you, the practice of mindfulness techniques can be beneficial. One technique is to close your eyes and for several minutes just monitor your thoughts and body sensations. Identify what comes up as either a physical sensation (e.g., a muscle twitch), or a feeling sensation (e.g., sadness), a visual thought (e.g., mental image of a loved one), or thinking (e.g. words).

Another technique that is helpful for handling overwhelm is to actually start naming things you see around you. This helps to ground you to reality. Do this until you feel overwhelm, frustration or panic subside.

3.  Choose a different feeling other than frustration when things are going wrong

We have the opportunity in every moment to choose our reactions. It truly does seem futile when all we ever can do is feel frustrated or hopeless when we are thwarted or we don’t succeed. This teaches the brain only one way to react which strengthens the likelihood of it happening again and again.

Try a different feeling on for size. Even if you started immediately reacting with frustration, consciously choose to switch gears. Decide to feel amused or curious rather than frustrated. Choose to be happy…joke, laugh, dance or move. Do something totally different than your brain has programmed you to do.

©2009, 2012

Kate Sanner

CEO and Founder of Vivacity®

http://VivacityNow.com

Coach and Consultant at KateSanner.com

A Division of Vivacity®

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Gratitude is NOT for Sissies

Monday, November 19th, 2012

As I write this, another Thanksgiving Day is approaching here in the United States.  It is our most widely celebrated holiday.  People love Thanksgiving because it incorporates wonderful values – gratitude, love and the joy of hospitality, good food, family and friends – without the commercialism that most sectarian holidays entail.  Thanksgiving gives us a day to remember and count our blessings and express gratitude to people and for things that make a big difference in our lives.

Giving thanks – “having an attitude of gratitude” – makes people feel good…about themselves and about others.  Gratitude gives us comfort and reminds us just how fortunate we are.

Motivational speakers and spiritual teachers recommend keeping “gratitude journals” to keep our spirits buoyed and to attract more good things into our lives.  As a therapist, I asked the families I worked with to express gratitude to each family member every night before going to bed for one act done by that person for which he or she was grateful.  This exercise helped families faced with daily challenges to experience brief respites of love and hope in the face of seemingly endless strife.

Makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside just thinking about it – all the wonderful things we are grateful for, doesn’t it?  But I realized something a long time ago – that it’s easy to be grateful when things are good…not so much when life is challenging.

This brings to mind the words of St. Paul – the persecutor turned apostle – who repeatedly exhorted the readers of his epistles to “give thanks in all things.”  Now, I am not a religious person, but those words (which I heard in church many times during my childhood) stuck with me…probably because they gave me – when I was finally able to understand them – a different framework to view all of life’s experiences.

No, I will never be grateful for the personal and collective tragedies themselves that have occurred in my lifetime and in history.  But I am grateful for the moments of intense awakening, clarity and growth that have sprung from these great tragedies.

Mostly, I am grateful for the lessons that I have learned through the challenges I have faced and resolved – many of which I have brought on myself.  Though I have hated and bemoaned them while I was going through them, I have always been amazed at how they have helped me grow.  (And I am getting better at weeping and wailing far less while in the throws of these challenges.  It’s good to have finally arrived at the place where I can lovingly and firmly tell myself to “Get over yourself, Kate”.)

Being grateful for all things – good and bad – is not for wimps and sissies.  But it does go along way to strengthening our backbones and building our character.  Now, there’s something to be grateful for.

©2012

Kate Sanner

CEO and Founder of Vivacity®

http://VivacityNow.com

Coach and Consultant at KateSanner.com

A Division of Vivacity®

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Never, Ever “Know Your Place”

Monday, November 5th, 2012

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” – Charlotte Brontë, “Jane Eyre” 

In all these months leading up to the U.S.’s Presidential Election, there has been a lot of rhetoric – a good portion of it focusing on women.  And no matter how much either party looks to women as integral to its winning the election women are not an interest group.  Women are 51% of our country’s population and it’s time to stop thinking of ourselves as a minority and allowing ourselves to be thought in this way.

It’s time for us to recognize our power and to begin to exercise it responsibly.  It’s time to forego “knowing our place” in the old sense of that expression and assuming our rightful place in the world so that we can help bring about the changes that need to be made. 

All this focus on women recently brought back an experience I had back in 1972.  I had moved to New Jersey and was finishing up my undergraduate degree at Montclair State College.  I took a job at a well-known chain drug store to earn money for a trip to Paris I planned on taking the following spring.  I had fallen in love with the French language and culture in high school and was a French major in college so visiting France was my dream.

The store was managed by a man in his early thirties and there were several women cashiers.  One day, the manager told me to go into the mall in which the drug store was located and get him some coffee.  I told him no, that this was something he could do for himself.  He was taken aback and told me to “get off my high horse”.  I still said no even though I knew I could be fired.

This moment still lives clearly in my memory, due in large part to the fact that I can’t believe I actually stood up for myself.  Having been a shy and anxious child, I still carried much of it into my early adulthood.  But having been in college for four years at that point and having been exposed to the great societal changes that were taking place, I took a stand in that moment, and decided not to “know my place”.  It was a small act of courage then and I believe I have taken many more – some much bigger – in the ensuing forty years.

As women, our roles are evolving and we all have to examine where we still buy into “knowing our place” in the negative sense.  Do we still hold back from speaking up for fear of criticism or rejection?  Do we put up with/tolerate micro and macro insults?  Do we hold ourselves back from leadership positions because the thought of playing this big causes a feeling of fear and insecurity?

It’s no longer about empowering ourselves just for the sake of our own development and enlightenment, it’s about empowering ourselves to address and to remediate the social ills that are still right here on our own soil and in the world.  There’s strength in numbers, so I am asking myself and I am asking you, how can you and I join with other women to step into true leadership?  No easy answers, but I would love for you to share your input through your comments on this blog post.

©2012

Kate Sanner

CEO and Founder of Vivacity®

http://VivacityNow.com

Coach and Consultant at KateSanner.com

A Division of Vivacity®

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Embracing Competing Intentions

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Dr. Wayne Dyer once said: “Our intention creates our reality.”  We know that intention – “a determination to act in a certain way” (Merriam-Webster) – is an important ingredient in being successful.  And while it’s very important to set intentions, there is something that’s equally important to know about intentions that can be holding us back from the success we desire – and that is that sometimes intentions compete.

This became abundantly clear to me the other day when I was talking with someone about my business.  Though my business started locally, I always wanted it to become an international business – serving women around the world.  Within a couple years of its founding, the readership of my Ezine went international and I have had several opportunities to coach and collaborate with women in other countries.  But I have never had the opportunity to travel abroad with my business.

What I realized in talking with my colleague was that I had a rather strong competing intention.  I love my home in the country and saying I love working from home would be a real understatement.  I truly crave being here – I crave the comfort and peacefulness of it all.  Even if things get stressful – as all businesses do – I can just look out my window or walk around my property and have an instant attitude adjustment.

Travelling is anything but comfortable and peaceful.  Getting to where we need to be can be a true hassle.  (Many of us have known the joys of having a flight cancelled and camping out in the airport or sitting on the tarmac for several hours). Once we arrive, we have to deal with the “differentness” of it all, even though we love being in our new location.  Travel requires us to deal with unknowns without any of the comforts of home to bring us back to center.

So my intention for comfort and peacefulness competes with my intention to have a truly international business…and I have never really examined this before.  Makes me wonder just how many other competing intentions are keeping me from having what I say I want!  I’m sure there are many…and you know what?  I’m OK with that…

Discovering my competing intentions is not going to become a “cause” for me – another item on the never-ending, always evolving “to do” list.  In the past, it would have – I would have turned laser focus on it in an attempt to overcome these success-robbing “demons”.  I think I’ve come to the point in life where I don’t want everything to be a crusade.  I can turn my attention to my competing intentions in a gentle, more compassionate way and view them for what they truly are – not so much impediments and roadblocks to my success but fuel for clarity and growth.

If I need to make changes, I will – but only because the changes will serve to manifest an intention that I have come to fully embrace…without judgment, without self-reproach, without stress and angst. And in doing so, I’ll arrive at the success I desire with more ease and grace.  I’m good with that.

Wishing you ease and grace on your path to success!

 

 

 

 

(c)2012

Kate Sanner

CEO and Founder of Vivacity®

http://VivacityNow.com

Coach and Consultant at KateSanner.com

A Division of Vivacity®

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In Confidence: Acknowledge Yourself

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Acknowledging yourself  is more than giving yourself a compliment; a true acknowledgement is really a behavioral description. An example would be telling yourself:  “Good job – you asserted yourself and got the result you wanted.” Or:  “You didn’t really want to make that call, but you did and and you really connected with that client .”

When you take the time to acknowledge your accomplishments, you help your brain make the connection between the actions you took and the success you achieved, making future successes more likely to occur.  Acknowledging yourself is also a great instant self-confidence booster.

 

(c)2012

Kate Sanner

CEO and Founder of Vivacity®

http://VivacityNow.com

Coach and Consultant at KateSanner.com

A Division of Vivacity®

P.S.  Get a copy of my new free report “Creating a Successful Practice:   Strategies for Every Stage of Your Business” by going to http://www.katesanner.com.  When you sign up, you will also receive a complimentary subscription to my email newsletter “Success Notes”  that will provide you with many more practice (and income) building strategies.

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In Confidence: Learn to Self-Promote

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

As a woman, you may have been raised to believe that humility is a virtue and to boast or brag about yourself is wrong.  You may have been taught that good work is its own reward or that hard work will get you noticed, so there’s no need to talk about it.  But while it’s important to feel proud of one’s work and to aspire to be self-actualized and independent of the good opinion of others, it doesn’t preclude promoting yourself and your talent.

If you don’t “toot your own horn”, no one else will. If you are a small business owner or self-employed professional, your products and services won’t be found in the marketplace if you don’t self-promote.  If you are employed, without self-promotion, you’ll go unrecognized for higher level positions.

So how do you promote yourself without feeling or sounding like you are boasting?

Here are a few steps to consider:

  1. Make a list of your accomplishments for a certain period of time.  This is a great exercise to do at the end of the year to help you set goals for the coming year, but do it monthly to keep yourself motivated and on task.
  2. Boasting means to speak with exaggeration. Remember, this is a list of facts and is an honest statement of all you have accomplished.  Read them out loud in a calm way.
  3. Acknowledge yourself for your accomplishments.
  4. Feel gratitude for and appreciate all you have achieved.
  5. Set the intention to be the best representative of yourself and your work that you can be.
  6. Make sure to rid your vocabulary of disempowering words.
  7. If someone congratulates or compliments you on your business, talents or a project you have completed, don’t downplay it.  Thank the person.  Then in a cordial (sincere, heartfelt) way, tell her: ”Yes, I have worked hard to achieve these accomplishments and I am proud of them.  I appreciate your acknowledgment.”
  8. If the thought of saying this feels daunting, use this well-used sales training and cognitive-behavioral technique: practice saying the phrase to yourself in a mirror.  Keep practicing until it feels comfortable and comes naturally.

By this point in life, you’ve accomplished a lot and you have the right to let the world know.  Congratulations!

©2012

Kate Sanner

CEO and Founder of Vivacity®

http://VivacityNow.com

Creator of and Coach and Consultant at KateSanner.com (A Division of Vivacity®)

P.S.  You can get a copy of my new free eBook “Get All the Clients You Need to Fill Your Practice: 5 Key Strategies for Women Solo Professionals” by going to http://www.katesanner.com/getclientsebook/.  When you sign up, you will also receive a complimentary subscription to my email newsletter “Success Notes”  that will provide you with many more practice (and income) building strategies.

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Real Success

Friday, August 10th, 2012

My company Vivacity’s mission is to empower, honor and celebrate women, so my blog posts, Facebook updates, Ezine articles, etc. always feature and focus on women.  But today is an exception because I am so blown away by a man who recently demonstrated what real success is.

Thirty-five year old Hamadou Djibo Issaka, a hotel gardener fromNiger, competed in the Men’s Singles Sculls at the 2012 Summer Olympics inLondon.  Issaka finished last in the race in just under nine minutes, two minutes slower than that of the winner of the Gold Medal in the race…and while he was doing so, he captured the hearts of the crowd who kept cheering him on to the finish.

“I have no technique, I only rely on power. I compete with courage, but there also people cheering me there, they applaud me and urge me to help me finish my race and I will do it.” – Hamadou Djibo Issaka

What is so remarkable about Issaka was that he only took up rowing three months ago and trained in an old fishing boat.  Add to this the fact that Issaka comes from a landlocked country on the edge of theSaharaand you have a portrait of a true champion and a real success.  (By the way, Issaka says that there are a lot of people back home waiting for him to teach them rowing and that he plans to compete in the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.)

We’ve been programmed to believe that success is measured by the things “successful people” have like titles, degrees, big bank accounts, expensive houses and cars, etc.  And as good as those things are, maybe real success should be measured in a different way.

I want to now define success as taking a stand for yourself, putting yourself out there, showing up and giving it your all.  Success should also mean that you maintained your courage when you were up against formidable odds and that you finished what you started, no matter how long it took.

I think Hamadou Issaka is a real success and an inspiration. I wish him continued success as he pursues his goals.

I know so many of you reading this have your own stories…ones that I hope you now consider your success stories.  Please share them with me – I’d love to hear them!

As always, I wish you great success.

 

 

 

 

Kate Sanner

CEO and Founder of Vivacity®

http://VivacityNow.com

Creator of and Coach and Consultant at KateSanner.com (A Division of Vivacity®)

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In Confidence: Trapped in Inertia? Put on Some Booster Rockets!

Monday, July 30th, 2012

When you feel bogged down, stuck in inertia and can’t seem to get out of my own way, it can make you feel pretty discouraged and send your self-confidence plummeting.  How do you get moving again?

Let’s start with a brief physics lesson…

Inertia is the “resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion or rest, or the tendency of an object to resist any change in its motion.”  I like to apply the words of Albert Einstein to solving this problem of inertia:  ”The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” Whatever thinking got you into this inactive state cannot be the thinking you use to get out of it. To get out of your low state of energy, you’re going to have to put on some booster rockets.

Here are some ways to do just that:

1.  Sometimes the only thing that gets us unstuck is to make a big bold move…small efforts won’t make a dent…big efforts will. Think about your situation. What can you do that is radically different? What can you do that you already do just on a bigger scale?

Here’s a great example of taking big action: A friend of mine really wanted to make her mark as an inspirational writer. She did a lot of writing for herself and some for the newsletters of her church and mom’s group. I asked when she was going to start taking her writing out to a bigger audience. She replied that she always thought about it and really wanted to do it, but she just seemed to be stuck. Fortunately, things began to shift. First, my friend read a book written by a writing coach. Then she went to a workshop this coach gave. This coach also had an ongoing mentoring program that my friend enrolled in. Eventually, the coach gave my friend a bigger forum for her work by inviting her to be a regular guest blogger on the author’s site.

Now it’s time to up-level your dreams and your goals. Brainstorm some ways of doing it.  Use an accountability partner to explore your ideas.

2. Be sure to up-level your times of enjoyment, enthusiasm and activity. You can’t just get your energy going in one way…it has to be comprehensive. Go out and do fun things. Joy heightens your energy level. Move in the ways you enjoy most…whether it’s dancing, playing tennis or doing Tai Chi. Do everything with enthusiasm. Watch funny movies or shows…the kind that make you belly laugh. Laughing reduces the stress causing hormones and increases the level of hormones like endorphins as well as neurotransmitters which increase your feeling of well-being.

Commit to a plan of joy, enthusiasm and fun while you plan and implement your big bold move.

3. “If you are not growing, you are dying.” I find this statement sends a little jolt of energy through me every time I hear it. It reminds me to never stop or slow down too significantly or life will drop to its lowest state of energy. To avoid getting into this low level of energy again, make sure that you always have your sites set on the next goal as you approach the accomplishment of a current goal. It’s good to keep a running list of all your plans, goals and ideas to keep the creative juices flowing.

Life is always unfolding and sometimes in ways we could never plan for so make sure to embrace the serendipitous events in your life. They may lead you to that next bold move and an ever growing sense of empowerment and confidence.

©2009, 2012

Kate Sanner

CEO and Founder of Vivacity®

http://VivacityNow.com

Creator of and Coach and Consultant at KateSanner.com (A Division of Vivacity®)

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3 Powerful Exercises to Use When You Feel Doubtful, Stuck Or Overwhelmed in Your Professional Life

Monday, July 30th, 2012

In my work as a psychotherapist, I gave my clients cognitive-behavioral strategies to conquer depression and anxiety.  When I became a coach and consultant, I found that many of these cognitive-behavioral strategies worked well in this practice too.

The women solo professionals whom I coach and with whom I consult, especially those who are new, can sometimes hit blocks that leave them doubting their abilities and feeling stuck or overwhelmed. I find that these three cognitive-behavioral exercises work well to move them forward.

1.  Look for Clues – When you begin to doubt your abilities to succeed, it’s time to look for clues. Look in the recent past for the times when you did solve a difficult problem, when you succeeded despite the odds, when you were able come through at the last minute. Acknowledge your abilities, your ingenuity and your resourcefulness. Write these down – this is your list of successes to read over whenever you feel self-doubt. Keep adding to the list every new accomplishment and breakthrough.

2.  Rate Your Performance in a Different Light – Let’s say you have been struggling with a project and you feel as if you’ve hit a wall. It’s time to rate your performance…but in a whole different light. On a scale of 0-10, zero being no progress and ten being the completed project, rate your progress so far. Let’s say you rated yourself a 3 out of 10. Now ask yourself why you rated yourself so high? In doing so, you will see the three in a positive light…after all, it’s not a zero. Then ask yourself: “What skills did I use to get me to a three?”, “What resources did I access to get me that high?”, “What personal qualities did I draw upon that made me get to that number?” Write these down. Now ask what you can do to get to a 4 out of 10…don’t focus on the 10, just focus on getting to one point higher.

3.  Partialize and Prioritize – Often times when you are in the midst of a big project for your business, you can find yourself overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. Break down the project into more manageable parts then prioritize the tasks in each part in terms of importance. Concentrate on one part at a time and do the most important things that will give you the biggest rate of return on your time in each part. You’ll feel a sense of relief as you watch your to-do list of tasks begin to be ticked off one-by-one.

©2009, 2012

Kate Sanner

CEO and Founder of Vivacity®

http://VivacityNow.com

Creator of and Coach and Consultant at KateSanner.com (A Division of Vivacity®)

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