Time to Assess
Every few years it’s good to assess the way your life is going. And, to ask these questions:
1) does what I’m doing fit who I am now?
2) is what I’m doing making me happy?
3) if I died tomorrow have I fulfilled who I am?
4) am I a better person because of the choices I’m making?
5) have I benefited the world in some way with my life?
What fits for us changes over time. The answers in our twenties are very different from our answers in our fifties and beyond. Those answers are important. And asking them is the key to our happiness. Here’s a quote from Heath Leger, a sad harbinger:
“Everyone you meet asks if you have a career, are married or own a house as if life was some kind of grocery list. But no one ever asks if you are happy.”
So, let me ask you, “Are you happy?” If not, what would you change or do so you could be happy? It is in our power to do so.
What stymies me sometimes is watching everyone being busier and busier and never questioning it. As if working harder, and ignoring the demands of your body and your psyche and soul was the way to a successful life.
Do you ever question whether the life you’re leading is the life you want? Or, does it just seem to be yours by default? We have the power to change our life if we don’t like it. We don’t have to put up with things that hurt us and deplete us or make us unhappy.
If you don’t know what to do about it, start with admitting to yourself what is true. In fact, always tell yourself the truth as you know it. Just doing that starts the process of constructive change. You don’t even have to know how to make the change. You just do what you can get ahold of right now, such as stop doing something that is making you feel terrible, whatever that is.
Another question that needs to be asked is, “How can I simplify my life?” “What can I let go of that is unnecessary, if I’m honest?”
There is a reason so many people commit suicide. There is a reason that happiness is not on most people’s list of important things. There is a reason that so many people are addicted to opioids as treatment for depression. The way we are living is not working for the majority of us. Even those who are billionaires fall into this category, by the way. They clearly do not have the corner on happiness or else they would not be consumed with greed. There will never be enough for them no matter how much they have. That is not a good place to be. Did you know that the happiest people were found in a small village in China and in Bhutan. By the measures we use to assess our culture, these people were poor. But by a deeper standard they were rich indeed, in happiness, in love, in community, in a sense of worthiness.
When I wrote about the loss of hope and how we need to find it in a different way, someone commented, that we are living in a great time – the stock market is at an all time high and the economy is strong. If that is your measure of a good life, maybe there’s something missing.
I realize my point of view isn’t for everyone. But before we lose many more people to suicide maybe we should look at our cultures’ values.
By the way, this is not a gloomy view. It’s a view of personal empowerment and the ability we have to change to living in such a way that the question, “Are you happy?” is the most important question we can ask someone and that we and they are able to answer, “Yes.”
Here’s to you living a life that brings you happiness
Dianne J. Shaver, Business Coach for entrepreneurs with heart
No, I did not get my dates mixed up. I know that we headed toward spring and away from winter in just a few weeks. But, I think Christmas movies are important, no matter what time of the year. The reason being that they are filled with hope, with joy and wonder. They remind us of what’s important and what’s real. I know Santa isn’t real, but the sense of excitement, of specialness, of possibility is very real. That’s always there but we forget. Those movies remind us.
We get so lost in “doing.” I heard, yet another program on NPR on burnout. It dealt with the fact that during the week we are so busy that we don’t get a chance to take care of things around the house. So, the weekend, which we badly need is used up, not in playing or resting, but in doing all the things we didn’t do during the week. So, now we have weekend burnout in addition to “job” burnout. By the way, working for yourself does not solve this. In fact, when you have your own business it means that you can work in the middle of the night or in the pre-dawn hours too.
When I am really stressed, I go find an old Christmas movie to watch. My current favorite is, “The Most Wonderful Time of The Year” starring Henry Winkler, who always makes things feel cozy. It reminds me also that everything will be okay, no matter what the current situation. It restores balance and equilibrium to my world. I highly recommend it. When your world feels rocky and you feel lost, reach for a Christmas movie. In fact, you can develop your own list of Christmas movies to watch when you need a boost. Something ready to pop into your DVD player or find on Youtube to lift your spirits, give you hope, restore your faith in humanity and help you remember that it will all be okay. After which, you can go back to the same old situation with a more hopeful perspective. Sort of a mental health break. There is something very special about Christmas for many reasons and these wonderful movies allow us to go into that specialness for a while and remember.
Merry Christmas and happy almost spring,
Dianne J. Shaver, M.A. Business Coach for Entrepreneurs with Heart
I did two interviews yesterday for my radio show, Holistic Transformations. Both of them were with woman who have stayed true to themselves. How did they do it? They opted out of the cultural definition of what we should be, what we should have and how we should live. We are much more influenced than we think. Why do people have 2-3 jobs? So they can buy the things they are told they should have or live in the size house, drive the right car, etc. I know that’s not true of some, but it is true of most. We are under the influence of some really good marketers who have sold us on a way of life. So much so, that we don’t even question it. We just do what they have programed us to do. And, it’s been going on for a long time. Remember the show, Admen?” That’s exactly what that’s about. Those folks have us buying the “right” car, make-up, houses, computers. The list is endless and we are all doing it. It takes a lot of paying attention to see where that influence slips in. It does it on catlike feet, so soft we don’t even see it or feel it.
It influences how many hours we work, the jobs or business we work at. The schools we send our children to or if we homeschool them. We don’t often make an independent decision. Now it influences our political beliefs. It’s all about sales and we all have been sold, even those of us who think we’re conscious. Can we get out from under that influence? Yes, we can, but it means we have to examine what we believe and what that belief is really based on. Something we don’t often do. I think we have to start with acknowledging that we are definitely under the influence. If we don’t we don’t have a prayer of breaking its hold on us. And, we have to slow down. We can’t be running like mad and have the time or quiet needed to assess what’s going on. We actually have to slow down, breathe, and ask the questions – “Why am I doing this?” “What do I really believe about this?” And “Why?” That’s where we have to start. And we have to be consistent about it. It’s not a one-time thing. We need to do it with everything we choose to do. We have to know why we are doing that particular thing. But that’s only if we want to live a conscious life and be true to ourselves. If we just want to get through this life, put in our time, the questioning is not necessary. Just follow along the path laid out for us. Never question.
Plato said it – “The unexamined life is not worth living.” I agree, although you may not and that is your right because this is your life, your time on this Earth to live as you chose. And Oscar Wilde said, “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” For myself, I don’t just want to exist. What is your choice?
Whatever you choose, I hope you enjoy this life on this beautiful planet.
Best to you,
Dianne J. Shaver, M.A.
Free Webinar: “Turn Your Great Idea Into $$$s” Enroll at https://www.entrepreneurmindworld.com
Most of us grew up thinking that we had thoughts. They were just there. Some good, some not so. They just seemed to be there. Some we liked, some we didn’t. No one ever told us the real deal – we can choose what we think. We do not have to think thoughts by default. We can select them. If that’s so why don’t we always do it?
Good question. What’s happened is that thinking as a phenomenon is so ingrained in us, we never questioned it so we are accustomed to thinking whatever comes along. Now when we go to choose we have to undo our conditioning. We have to sort through and decide if a particular thought is helpful to the way we want to live our life. Is it something we want to experience? If not, then what? Then we have to become clear on the kind of life we want number one and number two, to know that we can actually experience it based on how we think. Life doesn’t just happen to us. It comes to us through the way we perceive it.
To check that out, think of a time when you were really happy and the day just seemed to flow perfectly. Everything came your way. Another day, you felt out of sorts or gloomy or angry, something that didn’t feel as good. How did that day go? Not nearly as well. It’s as though we can pre-pave the day by the way we feel and we feel that way because of the thoughts we are currently thinking. Don’t take my word for it. Experiment. But be honest when you do about the way you are really feeling and the thoughts you are really thinking.
If you’ve been on this planet for many years, there are more thoughts to undo, if you haven’t been paying good attention. That’s why young children are so happy (unless they happened to land in a family that is not supportive or is damaging. Then they have to deal with that.) But for now, let’s presuppose a child is in a fairly “normal” family, with the “normal” amount of disfunction, but counterbalanced with love and caring. That child can learn to have happy thoughts and can manifest a more pleasing life. If they happen to land in a very conscious family they can learn very early on to manage their thoughts and therefore, the kind of life they experience.
You can also see this when someone has an experience that could be stressful, but they breeze through it as though it was just fine. I’m not talking about denial. They see what’s going on and are aware but they choose to experience in a more positive way. That’s a powerful way to use control of thinking. But, no matter what, when we choose our thoughts we feel more powerful, we feel more supported by life and we feel that we have impact on our life. It’s a really good feeling. And, it’s available to all. However, it does take some discipline and a willingness to do the work to be in control of our thoughts.
Have fun creating a life that feels good. You deserve it.
My best to you,
Dianne J. Shaver, M.A.
Turn Your Great Idea Into $$$s,
7 week online course and workbook. From concept to business.
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By Dianne J. Shaver, M.A.
With so much going on that is upsetting, sometimes it seems that we just keep our head down and plow on. There doesn’t seem to be much joy or fun or hope out there right now. I hear different people talk about just being stressed out, or just too much to do, or other ways of expressing their joy-less state. It all comes down to the same thing. There is a lack of hope out there and we’re all feeling it.
To compensate, we push harder and move faster. As if that would make up for the lack of happiness. But, if more did it for us, then people who were well off would not embezzle funds, or have affairs with women not their wives, or affluent women shop-lift. Stuff, money, things do not fill in the hole that many are feeling now.
So, what’s the solution? How do you deal with loss of hope, joy and fun? Sounds trite, but if we could begin, however slowly, to open our hearts toward ourselves and then toward others, there would be hope, joy and fun again. When we focus on events and lose our connection to ourselves and to others we are in a joy-less sate. Since we are all connected (that is literal, not figurative.) We need one another. We need connection to each other. We don’t do well when we don’t have that.
The other step we can take is to slow down. Faster doesn’t make it. Someone said that the faster we move the lower our vibration becomes. The slower we move the higher our vibration becomes. Or, in other words we are more conscious when we slow down. It takes discipline and commitment to slow down, to become more conscious. It is a very deliberate act. It is also going against the predominant cultural norm.
The more we do, the more praise we receive. The faster we run the more we are admired. The more we accumulate the more we are envied. However, in each case the emptier we ·
become. You would think we would have figured that out by now. Doesn’t’ seem to be the case. But we can learn. If we become uncomfortable enough maybe we might.
In the meantime, what about an experiment? Try connecting with a few people from a place of being real and genuine. See how if feels. See what it does to the quality of your day. Try doing only 3 things a day instead of 20. See how you feel at the end of the day. ( After you’ve gone through the guilt thing. Do it then let it go,)
What you will learn is that you do have control over your life and the quality of that life. Once you understand that, you can deliberately and consciously do things that will bring you true joy and with that the return of hope. You will also improve the quality of life on the planet for everyone because we are connected and you do have influence. Worth trying itt out.
Slow down and live! (Used to be a slogan for driving, but repurposing it.)
My best to you as you find joy and hope again.
Dianne J. Shaver, M.A.
Turn Your Idea into $$$s Online Course to make it happen.
We all have many parts to ourselves. Some we know, some we don’t. Our mission is to know as many parts of ourselves as we can. Different ones reveal themselves to us at different time, if we are willing to see them. It does take a fearless willingness, though. Some of those parts are not ones that we want to claim. But when we do, we can them transform them into something better. But it is the claiming that allows that to happen. Any part of ourselves that we push away or try to hide will just become stronger and slip out when we least expect it. In other words who we are cannot be denied.
So then, what is the best part of ourselves? Is it that part which is socially acceptable? The part that everyone likes? That which we are praised for? It would be nice but those parts are the adapted parts of ourselves. The places that we learned early in childhood to cultivate because then we were “good.”
The best parts of us, in my opinion, are when we are being genuinely, without apology ourselves. Do I mean when we throw tantrums, say whatever comes into our minds? Not at all. When we are being genuine we are open, loving and real. We do not need others to do what we want. We don’t need the world to be perfect. We accept graciously who we are, what is going on and remain open and optimistic.
How do we arrive at that place? That is the question. It takes a lot to get there. In order to do that we have to accept ourselves as we are. We have to accept others as they are. And we have to have something that connects us to that which is larger than just ourselves. We are all here as a part of something, whatever that is for us. It’s different for everyone. And, that connection must be genuine. It can’t be in a building once a week. It is something that has to be in our awareness all the time, or at least most of the time. And, we have to actively choose it. It can only come from our inner knowing. In other words, we know when we’re there and we know when we’re not. You cannot follow a formula to get there. You have to find your own way. To me, that’s the quest for which we are here.
In my experience, very few are there. It’s a life-long journey, something we strive for. I remember someone who was considered a spiritual guru was being interviewed by Oprah. She asked if he was in that aware space all the time. His answer was, “On my good days.” That was an honest answer and it’s where most of us who seek this are. On our good days.
My best to you in finding your best self, its worth the journey
Dianne J. Shaver, M.A.
Photo by Charlz Gutiérrez De Piñeres on
It’s so easy to let something pull us off course. There’s the news, of course, our family and friends, the weather, holidays, relationship (lack of or too much), and that’s just the beginning. The list goes on.
The question becomes, how to deal with all of the above and stay, not only sane, but on track. To do that we have to have
1) a clear idea of who we are (as much as possible)
2) the kind of life we want
3) what we really need to feel fulfilled
4) an idea of the gifts we have to give to the world
5) some sense of purpose
When we can answer those things, it gives a touchstone. We can then ask-“Is what I’m thinking now helping me to be who I am and do what I want to do?” or “Is where my focus is now helping or hindering me from doing what I want to do?” or “Is what I’m doing right now moving me toward or away from what I want?”
I know this intimately because I have, in the past, been distracted by my surrounds, how people were behaving and how I was feeling about all of it. Not a good basis for going for what I want. But, somehow, I got there despite it. However, distraction is a drain on energy. It takes valuable resources we could use to create or follow through on something desired. There is something about a one-pointed focus that gets us there sooner and better. Some shining examples of people who have or had it – Steve Jobs, Mark Zukerberg, Bill Gates, Michael Jordan, Meryl Streep, you get the idea. Most of us go in and out of dedication to our goals, but when we stray we can feel it and then it’s time to get back there.
We are not all going to be in the news or celebrated by the world for something, though some will. Plus, we have seen how celebrity and notoriety can backfire. But each of our lives is important and on purpose, therefore, how we spend our time and energy matters. It’s important that we fulfill our goals and dreams. My thought is we all have something to give and it matters that we give it.
How do we deal with distraction then? We identify it as such and we give enough importance to our desires that we look at where our attention is and keep bringing it back to our goals, mission, dreams. It’s okay to know what’s in the news, what our family and friends are doing or not doing, what our surrounds are, etc., etc. But, no matter what, we have things to do in this world and that must be our main focus.
It’s been said that we are not afraid of failure but of our greatness and I think that’s true. It also comes from the fact that we’ve been taught we are not enough and what we want doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. But I posit we are enough and what we want does matter. I think every one of us is here on purpose and with purpose. Keep your focus on your dreams and let yourself shine, because when you do, you give what you came to this world to give.
Let’s see what ya’ got!
My very best to you and a Very Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza
Dianne J. Shaver, M.A. Accountability Coach
Photo by Lucas Lenzi for Unsplash
A New Look At Gratitude
Like everyone I’ve read all the books on gratitude and spoken about it. Lately, however, concepts that I’ve been talking about are becoming much more real. Gratitude is among them. When something good happens I always give thanks. Same with the amazing things. Often those things bring tears to my eyes and my heart opens. What I realized, though, is that it lasts for a day or two. Then I’m looking for the next thing I want or need to manifest. What that means is I’m not really grateful and that I haven’t understood what that word really means. What I have come to understand is that gratitude is about noticing and seeing everything as a blessing. With that realization I looked back on things in my life I have labeled as harmful and debilitating. As I reviewed them, I realized they were actually happening because I needed to focus on something I wasn’t seeing or understanding and they were affording me the opportunity to do just that.
That insight changed the past for me. It helped me to see things I had been labeling has horrible really weren’t. It made me realize that when good things happen to me I notice for a few moments and then it’s – “next?” That’s not understanding what gratitude is. Being grateful is much deeper and more profound. It is knowing to your core that you are loved, watched over and blessed. Every day there is an opportunity to experience it. It’s knowing that the Universe is on your side in every instance. Knowing that each experience is meant for our good, our understanding, our growth and our joy and living in that state.
Maybe you’ve noticed too, that lately, huge insights and profound understandings are there for us to grasp. Now, that’s something to be grateful for! It changes how we see the world, how we live each day. It changes the thoughts that we allow space in our minds and what we no longer will tolerate. It changes victim to blessed, underdog to winner, poor to abundant, confused to insightful.
We all are inundated with things to do, work to accomplish, deadlines to reach. But, each day, there needs to be time to reflect, to meditate, to be still and to listen to the deepest part of ourselves. That creates the space for insight to come and for us to understand what life is really about; what’s of true value and how we fit into it. I know that sounds as if I’m saying we will discover the secrets of the Universe. I don’t think we’ll ever understand it all because there is always more to understand, each level opens to another. But, we can perceive more deeply and that does change our experience of life. It makes it less confusing and confounding and it allows us to trust that all will be well. Especially, if we are open to seeing more profoundly what well-being is. Things are not always as they appear. It’s up to us to always look for the good in every situation because it is there. And to expect it. That opens the way to true gratitude and to living with awareness of it every day.
Good is meant for you. Success is meant for you. Joy is meant for you. Every day.
My best to you,
Dianne J. Shaver, M.A. Accountability Coach
Creatives 6 Steps To Success
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There is always a way. Sometimes it comes from something we’ve been working on. But, mostly it seems to come out of the blue. An idea just pops in, or someone who we never thought of offers to help with something we’ve been struggling with a long time. But, there are times that we feel that no one cares and we are in it all by ourselves. Something struck me today – that is the fact that each person who comes into our life or who is already there, is there for a very specific reason. I’m sure they don’t think of it and usually we don’t but if we stop and examine it, it becomes evident. I looked at the people in my life and there it was.
I suddenly have a person to help with marketing for my online course. Someone I met through a course I was taking, although we have not met in person and it’s an area I definitely need help with. A woman I’ve known since we both started our respective radio shows, suddenly invited me to host a show on her network out of British Columbia. I go to a Dollar store where everyone is so pleasant. And the person who gave me a hug one day when I was down, now is my official hugger every time I come it. She stops what she’s doing and gives great hugs and says I’m her sister. Can’t tell you how much that makes my day. I have a friend who, whatever I need he comes through, but he’s not a person I expect an emotional response from. I have another friend who I can let it all hang out with and say exactly what’s on my mind. I have a precious friend who feels like extended family and we are definitely related in some way. I have a friend from where I used to live and she is my link to that part of my life. I have friends who work at Trader Joe’s and every week we take time to catch up and share what’s going on. I have librarian friends at my favorite branch and we share about books we like. There are the people I joke with where I live and we come out of our respective doors at the same time.
Each of these people has a role in my life and they don’t really intersect. I used to get in trouble when I expected someone to fulfill more than one role. When I let go of that expectation and just observed what they fulfilled in my life I realized how blessed I am and how wonderful each of these people is and how they enrich my life. That’s not even saying how great they are as people in their own right. Right now I’m just looking at them through this specific lens, which stopped me from having expectations of anyone and instead, made me grateful for what they each contribute to making my life rich and full. It’s clear they are each there for a reason for me but also for them, and I play a role in each of these people’s lives. Who is in your life and how do they enrich it especially if you let go of expectations.
Enjoy everyone around you and let them give their gifts just as you give yours to them.
Blessings to you,
Creatives 6 Steps To Success online course
Accountability Coach to Creatives and Millennials
Choose A Path
Sometimes, it’s as simple as choosing a path to go down. Especially when you have no idea what to do next. We all do pretty well when we are doing what we know, but when we step outside of that we can become overwhelmed. Too many paths is often worse than too few. With too few you can usually figure something out. When everything is laid out before you like a banquet, which do you do first? Which is the right one? Which will bring the right outcome?
The truth is, there is no way to know until you do it. That being said, it’s what you bring to any endeavor that determines the outcome. There is no magic formula. It really isn’t a question of a “right” path, it’s a question of the energy, creativity and determination you bring to anything that decides what the outcome will be. In other words, things are neutral until you put yourself into the equation. You are what makes all the difference in anything. That’s why two people can do exactly the same thing and one succeeds and one doesn’t. It depended on the kind of energy that was brought to bear in each case.
While it might look as if the two people were doing exactly the same thing. They weren’t. There was an energetic difference. The one who didn’t succeed had a reservation about something which might not have been evident, but was operating, none-the-less. This kind of thing is very subtle and hard to pin down sometimes, but it’s always there. It might be an attitude that the project was too hard, or that the person felt they didn’t have the right skills or abilities to complete it. It might have been an old message of “not good enough” which surfaced once again. We often have old messages that come up at the very worst times. Or, seen another way, they keep coming up so we’ll change them and not keep them buried anymore. There is always a reason for everything and there is always a solution to everything. Those are often not the ones we see, but they are right there in front of us when we shift our perception.
That’s why we see examples of people overcoming incredible odds all the time. They are not anomalies, they were desperate and the only thing they could do is let go of whatever had been stopping them and just go for it. It was all or nothing for them and they chose all. That’s often what it takes to succeed. Sometimes there are huge stakes like staying alive sometimes there are much smaller stakes such as being embarrassed. Next time you have to step up if your life isn’t on the line, then what do you really have to lose?
You can do whatever you need or want to do.
My best to you,
Dianne J. Shaver, M.A. Creatives 6 Steps To Success
Online 6 week course Jan. 8, 2019