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What is Your Pain Inviting You to Do?

What is Your Pain Inviting You to Do?

You’ve probably heard of ‘pattern interrupts.” If not, no worries. It’s not a complicated concept. You use pattern interrupts every day, and probably never notice. Let’s say you have a pattern of chewing your thumbnail when you’re working on a difficult problem. So you put a bandage on that thumb so you’ll notice when you’re about to chew the nail. Boom! That interrupts your pattern, makes you aware of what you’re doing, and (theoretically at least) trains you out of that pattern. Or you notice you’re in a downward spiral of overwhelm and frustration. So you take a deep breath, go for a walk, call a buddy, whatever stops that pattern. That’s a pattern interrupt. But here’s the trick with pattern interrupts – you have to realize you’re in a pattern that needs interrupting! We all have patterns. And, believe it or not, every one of those patterns served us well in some way at some time. That’s why we kept them. Chewing on a thumbnail is a common self-soothing pattern. So is snacking, and playing solitaire and scanning Facebook for the latest “What kind of ______ are you?” quiz. Even that spiral of overwhelm and frustration, while not productive in the long run, can bring on bursts of energy, garner sympathy and support, or just make us feel a little less guilty for sticking our heads under our pillow and refusing to get out of bed for a day! Some patterns have been reinforced by outside conditioning. Like the pattern of just pushing through when we’re exhausted. Or caring for the needs of others while refusing to acknowledge...
Martin Luther King and Holly Berries

Martin Luther King and Holly Berries

Sometimes it takes a long time for dreams to bear fruit. We all know that Martin Luther King had a dream. It has been 50 years since he shared it with us. In Just Blow It Up, I shared the story of speaking to an audience on Martin Luther King Day and having to follow an almost perfect rendition of the “I Have a Dream” speech. The moment when I took that stage, tears still stinging in my eyes and the iconic words still ringing in my ears, will always be one of the richest and most memorable moments in my speaking career. I really didn’t know what I could say that would not pale next to that bright hopeful thing that was the dream he left for us. Then I remembered a story of my own. One from when I was only two or three years old. That story is in the book – this post is not about that story. Except that the story held the one thing I knew to offer - an honoring of the progress we have made toward making the dream more true. We still have so far to go, but the world I live in today is closer to the world he saw than it was when he gave that speech – about a month after I was born. So together my audience and I honored progress – because dreams don’t bear fruit in only one harvest. They bear a little in one year. A little more in the next year. And more, and more, and more. On a walk through the...
Can Your Inner Artist Save Your Life (or at least your bacon?)

Can Your Inner Artist Save Your Life (or at least your bacon?)

I’ve had a lot of days this last year when I felt a lot like this old typewriter. Worthless, rusty, archaic and unable to create anything at all. When you’re a writer, that sucks. Because writers are, by preference if not definition, artists. And artists are, supposedly anyway, creative by nature. So when my creative nature starts feeling like an old friend whose address I’ve gone and lost, I experience an identity crisis. I begin to question what I’m going to do, if I cannot create. Because every aspect of what I do - writing blogs and books, holding conversations with audiences,  group or individual coaching - requires that I be able to create. So I begin to question how I’m going to pay the bills, if I cannot create. I begin to question what I’m worth, if I cannot create. And in asking that question I begin to realize that we all pay our bills by creating. We create solutions, we create distractions, we create incentives, we create a new way of doing something or we create a system for doing something the old way the same way every time. We are all artists! The love of my life is a personal trainer, massage therapist, and genius at making movement make sense. And he says to me often, “Everyone is an athlete. We would all rather dance through life than crawl through it and that means training the body to dance.” Of course you’ve heard me say I’m a firm believer that we are all entrepreneurs because we all have an undertaking - whether it’s our business, our...
How Big is Big Enough?

How Big is Big Enough?

Know what would make me SCREAM? Not this little guy, he’s actually really cute. (Although I suppose even I would be pretty surprised to find him curled up with the other pets one morning - and I LIKE dragons!) If I hear one more person say “If your dreams/goals/vision doesn’t scare you half to death it’s because it isn’t big enough.” THAT would make me scream. Not because there’s no truth in it. But because, like so many axioms, it’s only the tip of the truth iceberg. Here’s what happens, especially about this time of the year. People get on the goal wagon, they start writing out their New Year’s resolutions, their vision, their aspirations, and they get excited. Then they see or hear someone they respect very highly suggesting, in a no-excuses kind of way, that if they aren’t terrified they aren’t dreaming big enough. Well there goes the excitement. Now all those beautiful dreams start looking kind of drab. They figure they’d better start expanding their vision because they aren’t scared enough yet. And guess what. They expand and expand until they feel properly terrified. And  they do nothing. Know why? Because it isn’t the VISION that should frighten us. The vision should excite us, it should drive us CRAZY with excitement. We should want to step into that vision so badly that we can almost see it, taste it, touch it. The fear that indicates you’re dreaming big enough (and dreaming true) isn’t associated with the vision. It’s associated with the process or the result - maybe both. Like this scenario: You’re madly in love with...
Just As I Am

Just As I Am

One of the little “doses of dynamite” that I’ve jotted down in my journal says: “If I have to be someone I’m not in order to do what I want to do then I need to reexamine either what I want or who I think I am.” I don’t share these musings from my journals as Daily Dose of Dynamite emails until I’m ready to unpack them, and this one wasn’t ready to be unpacked. Until now. On a group coaching call this morning with my Dynamite U members, we talked about an opportunity one of our members had been given. We discussed how she could make it more successful and how she would define success. And she said to me, “I know a lot of people think I should be doing this, or doing that, but I’m just not that person yet.” Suddenly the message in the little note I’d written to my future self made sense. We never need to be someone we aren’t. But sometimes, when we want to do a thing that we aren’t ready to do, we expand our understanding to realize that we CAN meet the requirements that thing sets for us. She doesn’t need to be anyone she isn’t. But this opportunity is inspiring her to stretch her understanding of who she is to include doing things she didn’t think were possible. She’s embracing her strengths and using them to do what needs doing in her own way. Not the way she’s “supposed to” but in the way that is authentic for her. At first I thought this was what I was...