Dreamlining

 

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Unbelievable,  2013 is about to finish! For most of us each year seems to go faster. This year was a busy one for me: starting my consulting practice, as well as an aromatherapy company, it really took a lot of my time. Between those two activities and writing my blogs, I learned that I really need to pay attention to my plans and dreams, if I want to achieve  them. I used to think that dreams and plans were mutually exclusive, but this year I had the chance to focus on my dreams and see them take form. I am still early in the process, and it’s clear to me that it IS a process and it will take time, but I feel confident and excited about them.

 

 

 

It seems yesterday when I started my vision board for a class. In the years before I had only written affirmations of what I wanted to achieve, but having a vision board helped me to see the big picture. So, today I want to invite you to start dreamlining: writing a plan for your dreams. To start, all you need is a dream, which of course is easier to say than do actually do it. We’ve been forced to settle and to forget about our dreams in order to fit in society; we need to start dreaming again, remembering what we wanted to do when we were younger and what we feel would give meaning to our lives.

 

LET’S WORK! As Timothy Ferris says in his book The 4-Hour Workweek, the best way to start is to think: -What would you do if there were no way you could fail? -What would you do, day to day, if you had $100 million in the bank? This is about doing, but you also should consider something about being and something about having.  To help you explore your dreams, describe: One place to visit One thing to do before you die One thing to do daily One thing to do weekly One thing you’ve always wanted to learn Then, look for a board or a notebook where you can put your vision board. Visioning is a powerful exercise and it will help you to keep your eyes on the goal. Once that you’re done with the dreaming part, it’s time to start planning it. When do you want to reach your goals? how much will it cost? what investment do you need to make? what are the first steps you need to take? As this planning process is overwhelming (you should be aiming for something amazing, remember Disraeli’s words: Life is too short to be small), you may want to start with the next, minimal, elegant step. Then write down the next step, and the ones you will take in the next week. Ferris recommends to determine three steps for a 3 months and 6 months dreamlines. As he says, the objective is to define the end goal and build momentum with the critical first steps.

Life will find its way to help you achieve your goals, so you might as well plan and dream big!

Feel free to share your goals here in the comments or contact me directly if you have any questions.

7 practices for Happiness

I’ve always being intrigued by Happiness. How some people can be happy regardless the situation they’re passing through and how some people cannot be happy even if they seem to have their lives resolved?
And this may actually be the key. As someone who was born and raised in a “third world” country and then moved to the “first world”, I have always been surprised by how happy people in my hometown seem to be, compared to the people in Montreal.   I have noticed that, in general, people are happier when they are with other people, when they’re focused on an activity, or focus on their loved ones. The key seems to be being Present, enjoy the moment, enjoy themselves, enjoy the life and blessings they’ve received.
Thinking about the blessings we have had through our lives brings us satisfaction, while thinking of what we don’t have yet will bring us dissatisfaction. Notice how different is to say: I’m glad I’m …. vs. I wish I were… 
When we’re kids, we’re naturally present. We enjoy the moment or we express our discomfort openly and we naturally try to be happy. We make an effort to obtain what will make us happy or we move on.
Later on in life, when we are not able to be happy, we tend to hold grudges, and as we’re unhappy, we tend to need drugs and anti-depressants. We’re not able to move on.  We tend to keep our eyes on the negative things.
If you have a conversation with a co-worker and praise her work for 5 minutes, then tell her 1 single little thing that she could do to improve, and all she will think will be that “negative” comment.
 
If we keep focusing on the negative things we perceive or are afraid of, we may soon enter in a mood of sadness, anxiety or anger, which, in turn may have an impact on everything else we “experience”, as emotions change the way we perceive or remember things.

If you want to have a happier life, we can:

1. Surround ourselves with positive people. Build a circle of friends to share the joy with us.  From what I have seen, in North America, people tend to be isolated. When we have a group of close friends and we feel taken care of, we feel supported and loved.
2. Be grateful. Count our blessings. You cannot be thankful and sad at the same time. We just need to remember that we came into this world naked and without anything. Everything that we have now is a blessing!
3. Be active. Regular physical activity keeps the body healthy and makes the spirit happy. Daily walks raise the level of happiness, the brain works better and so our bodies, so it’s a win-win situation.
4. Help other people. John A. Schindler wrote, “Live as a giving person. Those who give are happier than those who only take. Those who give to others discover the beauty in the world.” There are studies that prove that people who help other people feel better.

5. Take time to rest. Get enough sleep, relax.  Scientific research shows that relaxed people think more positively and are happier. Every hour of sleep missed lowers the positivity one can experience during the day.

6. Start our day with gratefulness, purpose and a positive attitude. I have noticed that the way I start the day, is the way the day goes. Gandhi said that he used to count his blessings for half an hour every morning.  If we focus on the positive things that surround us, we will notice more positive things. If we have a purpose for the day, we will be more present and it will be more likely that we accomplish what we want.

7.   Take ourselves less seriously. People who feel entitled to something, people who easily feel offended, and people who take themselves and the rest of the world very seriously won’t be as happy as people who can laugh about themselves.  Add some good humor to your life, see cheerful films, laugh often.

Do you have any other advice that can help us to be happier? Please, share it in the comments section and share the joy with more people.

The 4 keys for Change

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

You want to be happy. You want to feel good. You want to change a situation that is not pleasant. And that’s what we all want, but how?

Past or future concept.

SUPPORTING THE CHANGE PROCESS

1. If you haven’t done it yet, this is a great time to start: choose your thoughts. You might “listen” to all of them, but you don’t have to let them stay.

You need to stop feeling as a victim so you can take the power back. The other person or the situation is no longer in control.  As Viktor Frankl said: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

When we’re in control we can change things. 

2. Identify the situation: Once that you take ownership of the situation, you can move forward. To do it, you need two things: identify where you are and where are you want to go. Once that you know both things you can start walking. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time, as you don’t know for sure if you’re headed on the right direction.

The best way to change something in your life is to find who are you. What inspires you. How do you feel about your current situation. What is the gap between where you are and where you want to be. How willing are you to make the change. Because, let’s face it: change has a price, and you might decide as well not to pay it. And that’s ok!

3. Now that you know where you’re going, you need to have a plan. Plans are not important, planning is key. You need to have a clear plan in mind and you need to be flexible about it.  A plan will focus your mind; it will filter the thousands of thoughts that come to your mind every day and let you pay attention to the important ones. Plan every week but give yourself enough free time to enjoy life and enough flexibility to be spontaneous.

4. Don’t lose faith! As one of my favorite authors, Clarissa Pinkola Estes says, “Do not lose heart. We were made for these times”. Don’t accept discouragement from anyone (including you). Don’t walk back if you’re headed somewhere. Take advantage of every effort you have made, even if didn’t work in the way you expected. As for the negative comments, well, consider them as fertilizer for the skills you’re cultivating.  People sometimes have a weird ways of reacting to change. When you’re in control of your life, some people will react, but remember that if they love you, they’ll accept you.

It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t listen to what people have to say, especially people that are important to you, but, you need to identify their intentions and reasons. Is it fear? envy? resentment? Then, don’t take it with you.

We can either make things happen or watch what happens, the choice is yours.  You just need to trust the process.