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Thursday
Jul242014

Is Fear Stopping You in Your Tracks? Here's How to Move Through it.


One day, about a month ago, my husband and I set out on to explore a new park and go for a gentle hike.  I was about five months pregnant (yes! I’m pregnant :), so we chose an easy trail. We bought ice cream and proceeded on the paved road, delighted by our new discovery and the beautiful vistas in front of us.  Slowly the paved road turned into a dirt road, then into a kind of jagged path, littered with loose rocks and exposed tree roots, then the path got so skinny, we weren’t sure we were even still on it. The path seemed to disappear under my feet and turn into a series of substantial hills to ascend and descend. I began to feel flush and overcome with fear. 

Inside my head I was all like, “Shit! Why am I doing this? This is so stupid...what if I fall? My imagination imagined the worst. And it didn’t help that I could also hear my mom’s voice, “Are you sure you should be going for a hike?” 

It’s easy to get excited about an adventure in the beginning and then… regret it. Ever been there?

Looking ahead and seeing how far we had to go, I began to freeze up: How am I going to make it?

Fortunately, I did make it. And what helped me move through my fear on this hike, I realized, were strategies that work for surviving most journeys (literally and figuratively): 
  • 1) No pain, no gain. Fear isn’t always a sign of danger; sometimes, it’s an indication of a new growth spurt. In my online class, I talk about The Hero’s Journey and how the roads that lead us to our greatest growth don’t always feel so great in the process. Especially when the journey or endeavor is new to us. Ask yourself, are you being led or stopped by fear? 
 
  • 2) “One step at a time” is not just a corny expression. As soon as I’d scope out how much farther we had to go, I’d start freaking out. But when I focused just on taking the one step in front of me, I could manage that. Of course, having a sense of the Big Picture is always a good thing…as long as you can also see the immediate steps you need to take to get there. 
 
  • 3) Don’t go it alone. The buddy system isn’t just about staying safe. Studies suggest that challenges seem less daunting when we’re facing them with a friend or supportive colleague. Thank goodness I was with my hubby, Ilya! He walked ahead of me and would offer his hand whenever he sensed I was about to freak out. 
 
  • 4) Don’t just stand there, do something! Have you noticed, life doesn’t let us stay stuck for long. An uncomfortable situation just gets worse until we take some kind of action to deal with it. So, refusing to budge is rarely a good option. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take a break, catch your breath, even rest for a bit. Just as long as you start moving again…before too long. 
 
  • 5) Ain’t no shame in admitting you’re scared. When the going got tough, I got silent. At first. But as soon as I shared my fears with my husband, I instantly felt a little better. In fact, research shows that acknowledging our negative feelings out loud can help them dissipate faster. And in my case, “loud” was the operative word…. 

Need some support navigating a current journey or adventure? Click here.

With love,
Stella
Tuesday
Jul222014

You're Allowed To Change Your Mind

Has this ever happened to you? You have a goal and you stick with it... except once you achieve your vision, it’s either:
  • a) nothing like you were expecting it to be
  • b) something you discover you’re no longer interested in 
  • c) or some variation on all of the above.  
After spending an incredible amount of time, resources, and heart devoting yourself to your noble vision...you may find yourself at best, underwhelmed, and at worst, depressed, disoriented, and maybe even physically ill. 

When I launched WOOPAAH, my vision for the company was to create a physical playground for professionals to bring them alive to the present and to ignite their creativity.  And for two years, I successfully designed engagement programs for corporate employees - from Google to Johnson & Johnson to the City of New York. 

Yet more and more, I started feeling restless…ultimately realizing that this great dream I had achieved was, in fact, no longer doing it for me. 

The very thought that I didn’t want to do this anymore felt like a personal betrayal.  

Turns out, however, that it was a huge gift (I can say that now after 18 months of turmoil). Knowing that I had to change my vision was the catalyst to knowing what I wanted to do next. 

So...feeling bad for wanting to change your mind or your vision? Continue reading here for some of my tips and more of my story.

• 1. Changing your mind is not the same as admitting a mistake. Often, our fear of looking foolish—or worse, like a failure—prevents us from moving on. Yet, it’s actually the opposite that’s true: Altering or adjusting your vision is a sign of strength, not failure.

 

• 2. Sometimes you have to try it on to know it doesn’t fit. Just as one size doesn’t always fit all, one vision won’t be the same for every individual. Or it can take some time before the job or position has run its course. The good news: Without getting to this point, you couldn’t really know what the experience would feel like—and perhaps more importantly, what your next move should be. 

 

• 3. You’re in a different place now than when you first made the decision. We’re on a continuum, constantly changing and learning new things about ourselves and the world at large. When you think about it, it’s more impressive that any goal, once achieved, is still fulfilling!

So how am I modifying my vision? I'm launching a new coaching program. I've found that working one-on-one with clients enables me to use my strengths and make deeper impact. Interested? Read on!

Track 1: The Career & Life Fulfillment Program for Overachievers

I’ve realized that over achievers who have done everything “right” and worked really “hard” have the most difficult time when suddenly dissatisfied or bored with their work and life vision. 

Does this sound like you or someone you know:
  • What used to motivate you no longer does the trick
  • You’re feeling stuck and don’t like your options 
  • You’re considering a big change and are questioning yourself
  • You wake up with dread and don’t want to face your day
  • You can’t quite recognize yourself lately...where did the passion go?
  • You’re ready to love your life and work again 
Want to learn more? 
Schedule a complimentary 30-minute session to help you get unstuck. 
Limited spots available to first come first serve. 

Track 2: Conscious Executive Leadership Development

Want to learn how to develop a culture and team that are not only effective but happy? Recognizing you need support in developing yourself as the leader you know you can be? Contact me to explore if this is right for you or your organization. Topics covered include:
  • Developing your leadership vision
  • Engaging your team 
  • Building clear purpose, vision, and values 
  • Training yourself and others to be more resilient
  • Mastering difficult conversations
  • Creating a culture of well-being and happiness
Want to learn more? 
Book a complimentary 30-minute session to explore if this is right for you or your organization. 

 

Thursday
May222014

How to Stop Sabotaging Yourself: the Prelude

 

Hey Guys,

You know that expression, “You’re your own worse enemy”? Of course you do; it’s practically the overachiever’s slogan! (That’s not meant as a good thing, BTW….) It came up when I was talking with a client who was venting about how miserable she was at work. That wouldn’t have set off any alarms, except for the fact that not so long ago, she LOVED her job! The more we talked, the more I knew her experience wasn’t unique (we’ve all been there!) and that I had real information and advice for getting over the self-torment—and especially for dumping all that negative energy. 


It’s all here in this video I just put together: a quickie course on the research and remedies—or happiness hacks, as I like to call them—for three of the biggest success sappers. And I’m offering it for FREE! That’s how much I want you to check it out. I’m even turning this week’s post into a little warm-up for the course. For instance, did you know:  

 

 • Being negative comes naturally. Really. Our brains are predisposed to all things bad, dark and unsettling. Scientists call it “negativity bias” and trace it to the Stone Age when thinking the worst was, in fact, good…in the sense of a life-saving strategy. The good news for 21st Century humans: We can retrain our brains. Now hold that thought. Seriously, hold that thought.

 

The Power of Positive Thinking isn’t just a catchy book title. With apologies to Norman Vincent Peale (look it up), we now have hard scientific evidence that positive emotions, just being in a good mood, allow us to see possibilities that otherwise would never have entered our minds.   

 

When all else fails, give yourself a break. Overachievers are notorious for being hard on themselves. How’s that working out for you? Take a breath. Take a walk! Anything to help quiet your inner critic. 

 

I hope the ideas in this post resonated with you. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. And, of course, I would love to hear from you after you watch the video! You can always get me at stella@woopaah.com.

 

Till then, here’s to your happiness and loving life!

Stella

Friday
May092014

Identity Crisis

 

Hi Everyone!

Have you been feeling burned out lately? Not caring about stuff…maybe even wondering what you’re doing with your life? Well, you’re not alone! There’s this crazy, disturbing trend out there, kind of like an identity crisis—and it’s especially affecting overachievers, which I know describes most (if not all!) of you, plus probably many of the people you know. So, this week’s conversation is a little different from our usual chats in that it’s just between us…you and me. Consider this a PSA—a Positivity Service Announcement!  

I share some interesting research that helps explain why this is happening AND some strategies for banishing the feelings. There’s a real “feel good” message to the video. Here’s a little preview:

 Newsflash: Achievement is overrated. For some of you, that sounds practically like treason, I know. And that’s the point: Our society places so much emphasis on achievement that we even identify ourselves that way; as though our job and accomplishments are the sum total of who we are. Achievement is definitely part of the happiness equation—or as we describe it in Positive Psychology, one of the five drivers to human flourishing—but in and of itself, it’s not the whole deal. 

 Effort trumps performance every time. Carol Dweck, this fascinating academic psychologist at Stanford, did a study on the difference between praising one’s performance and praising one’s effort. What she found speaks volumes about why some of us shy away from challenges (for fear of failing) and others are like, Bring it on! Watch the video for a more in-depth discussion; just know that it will take all the negative value judgments out of how you think of failure. 

There’s no such thing as an “ordinary life.” Overachievers are basically programmed to discount the value of living in the moment; better to be thinking about the future and percolating on your next big success, right? Wrong! Engagement—living in the moment, losing yourself in an activity, appreciating the little things—is another one of the drivers to flourishing. 

In fact, happiness may be the best antidote to an identity crisis. If you’ve already taken my online course, The Science of Happiness, you know exactly what I mean. But if you haven’t, or you’d like a refresher course on how to live a happier life, you’re in luck! Through May 21st get the 5-session course for only $24—that’s a 75% savings! 


Visit udemy.com/scienceofhappiness and use code: "BDAY" for the sweet discount only available to my readers!

Also I’d love to hear what you think of this week’s video—and especially your experiences with an identity crisis. Please send me a comment, or email me directly: Stella@woopaah.com.

Till next time, here’s to living the good life!

Stella

Wednesday
Apr092014

How To Feel More Zen with Eric Klein

Hey Everyone!
Has this ever happened to you: You sit down to meditate but are so focused on figuring out the 
purpose of your meditation that now you’re too stressed to meditate? Yeah, well, me, too! But 
that’s only one of the reasons I know how meaningful you’re going to find this week’s conversation. 
My guest, Eric Klein, is one of those rare individuals as renown in the spiritual community as in 
the business world. That’s because for the past two decades, Eric, a meditation master teacher, 
has pretty much made it his business to enlighten the workplace through his company, Dharma 
Consulting, and his books, such as the bestselling, Awakening Corporate Soul: Four Paths to Unleash 
the Power of People at Work. 
Let me give you just three of the insights I took away from our talk:
• Nothing is a total loss. Even when things don’t turn out the way we expected, there is still 
everything to gain from the experience. As long as we’re paying attention. The key is learning to be 
open to the unpredictable and be able to notice all that’s offered in the present outcome. 
• Inaction can be more important than always taking action. We’re conditioned to think that 
problems get solved by constantly doing and fixing. But if you think about where real breakthrough 
ideas come from, you’ll realize it’s once we let go and give our minds a break!
• The secret to habit-forming meditation? Keep it effortless. It’s better to meditate for even a few 
minutes with no effort than for more time but “forcing” it. Oh, and practice makes perfect. As with 
anything that improves by practicing, meditation is also a matter of developing consistency.
Enjoy! I know you will - I personally got a ton out of this interview. And I’d love to know what in our conversation truly resonated with you. Let me hear from you! Just leave a comment or drop me a line!
Best,
Stella