Would it be Okay if Life Got Easier?

mocha momentsHas anyone ever asked you that question? I mean really? Would it be okay if life got easier? It sounds preposterous doesn’t it? Life is supposed to be a struggle. If anything comes too easily we look at it sideways with much suspicion. What’s the catch? Where’s the hidden camera? I’m being punked right now aren’t I?

“[Our] relentless pursuit of success is a lot like trying to hunt a wild animal”, says Marketing Strategist – Gary Korisko. “To pull it off, you have to know when to be aggressive – and when to be stealthy. Your prey, success, is smart and elusive. It’s skilled in dodging people like you and me whose goal is to catch it, tame it, and keep it as a pet.

Eventually, if you have a smart strategy – and a ton of intestinal fortitude – the planets will align and you might just catch success by the tail.”

Isn’t that a better description of how we’re living our lives right now? In pursuit of success, chasing it, working long hours to achieve it…doing WHATEVER IT TAKES to get it? And we’ve become quite an impatient bunch too! A lot of the stress we feel is because we’re not sure if we’re at the beginning middle or end of our journey to success. We’ve been at it long enough and we’d like to know how it’s going to turn out. We’re INCREDIBLY UNCOMFORTABLE with DISCOMFORT and UNCERTAINTY. We want everything NOW: Answers, success, resolution. We push to make things happen now. Later isn’t an option.

“But even after it’s caught” Gary explains, “success retains it feral instincts. It plays possum. It temporarily bends to your will, letting you think you’ve decoded all its secrets. Over time, you begin to believe that you’ve mastered it – which is exactly what it wants you to think. Your ego kicks in, and you begin to believe you have all the answers. You begin to believe that you’ve discovered the formula. The secrets of success are now yours. And they belong to you forever. Don’t they? Precisely at the moment you become distracted by your own glow, success springs back to life – bites you in the butt and escapes back into the wild.

“Many times we lose sight of our goals and dreams. Or we spend years analyzing why things didn’t turn out as planned or why our vision seems obscured. Some of us discover that success isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. We may have accomplished plenty, but we’re too exhausted or distracted to enjoy our lives.” No one is immune explains Dr. Maria Nemeth who has worked for more than 25 years with thousands of people who have had similar experiences – leaders, teachers, ministers, entrepreneurs, physicians, coaches, therapists, students, moms, dads, and friends. Every one of them wanted to know: What is the question to which my life is the answer?”

Dr. Nemeth speaks to audiences worldwide on how to bring clarity, focus, ease, and grace to life. The first question posed to audiences is usually: “Would it be all right if life got easier?” She says:  “I mean really, would you be willing to explore living your life with clarity, focus, ease and grace?” This is what she means…

The greatest difficulty ALWAYS comes right before the birth of a dream. There are tons of obstacles and challenges here and the learning curve is as steep as it gets. The idea of “Trouble at the Border”, a metaphor used by Dr. Nemeth, describes the difficulties that arise when we are at a challenging place in bringing our vision to life.  Whether it’s the bridge between our promises and the financial miracles we’d like to experience; or the fears we have about the relationships we long for, there is a border. A border might be a boundary preventing intimacy in a relationship that one is afraid to cross. A border might begin with a sudden diagnosis of cancer in a loved one.

Creativity is the gift of being human and the challenge arises at the Border where “the fun and inspiration of the original idea encounters the energy requirement of physical reality.” -Which is why Dr. Nemeth invites us to explore living with clarity, focus ease and grace….

clarity focus ease and grace*Clarity – We need to be clear about what’s really important to us, what resonates with us. You’d be surprised how many people (and I find women in particular), are stumped when asked “what do you want?” I’m not talking about immediate needs around shelter, food, clothing etc. But what do you want to do with your life? Many have no clue! Dr Nemeth underscores that in order to have a luminous life we must engage in a GAME WORTH PLAYING with GOALS WORTH PLAYING for! When we do what we ENJOY THE GAME, have goals for the game that are meaningful to us, and clarity about how we want to live our lives.

*Focus – Dr. Nemeth describes doing a ‘life’s intentions’ inventory’ to understand what to focus on. Focusing your attention will take your mind off of the worries and distractions in your life and also keep you engaged in what you find interesting and what you are truly intended to be doing with your life

*Grace – Put very simply ‘the way to grace is through gratitude.’

When you are clear about what you REALLY want, when you are focused on where you’re going and living intentionally, when you are grateful for EVERYTHING then you can begin living your life with more ease. One of the key elements to bringing ease into our lives is to bring our everyday actions into ALIGNMENT with what is important to us.

Bottom line: our lives can get easier but if we are NOT ALIGNED our lives will seem difficult as we try to engage with activities that we do not find interesting or that are in conflict with our life’s intentions.

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*Clarity, Focus, Ease and Grace – Life Lessons from Dr. Maria Nehemeth, Notes from KIM BOX , an inspirational leader, writer and speaker who has 29 years of experience in the high-tech industry leading and transforming large-scale organizations.

Image from The Etsy Market

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Can you be Successful without being Exhausted?

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The short answer is “Yes” but it depends on other elements in the success equation. Let’s kick off with a couple definitions of success. Napoleon Hill defined it like this “SUCCESS is the attainment of your DEFINITE CHIEF AIM without violating the rights of other people.” Earl Nightingale laid it out like this “SUCCESS is the progressive realization of a WORTHY IDEAL.” And Bob Dylan says “SUCCESS IS WAKING UP EVERY MORNING… AND DOING WHAT I WANT TO DO.”

Many people often share that they don’t know how to go about choosing ONE goal. There are so many different thing they want to achieve they get tired just thinking about all that’s on their list. Others are working but not sure that what they’re doing is what they want to do.

What brings conflict and ultimately exhaustion is when we compare ourselves to others. Charles Caleb Colton said that “imitation is the greatest form of flattery” but it doesn’t help the person who’s doing the imitating. We have been taught to imitate. With good intention, parents asked us “Why can’t you be more like so and so?” Advertisements and the advent of hour long reality TV series beckon us to “Be like Mike”, “Bend it Like Beckham” and “Be like Kim Kardashian in 7 Easy Steps.”

When we compare we don’t just take the parts that we like about how a person operates, dresses or delivers a speech. We ask ourselves a terribly debilitating question “Why am I not LIKE you?” Then we set out to BE LIKE the other person, starting the rapid UNDOING of our whole life. What we don’t realize is that when we’re purely imitating and trying to “be like” we lose respect for who we are.

This is why you’re exhausted. You can get a new hairstyle, get new clothes, get the latest whatever cosmetics, buy a new car, visit Paris on vacation, learn a few more things, become more knowledgeable, start to paint as a form of meditation, become notoriously famous but deep down you will know that you are not being you. TD Jakes says “what does it matter what you have to show for your success if who you truly were meant to be remains hidden?”

Your disrespect of self comes when you don’t recognize your specialness. There is nothing to get – you already have it. The thing is that you need to recognize it. Nobody’s thumbprint is like yours, nor eyes; no one sounds like you, and absolutely nobody could duplicate your essence. You don’t have a double that exists EVEN if you are part of a twin. You are exceptional but you must accept this before you can truly embrace ANY success in your life.

In her book ‘Mastering Life’s Energies’, Dr. Maria Nemeth has a definition for success that I like very much. She says

Success is CONSISTENTLY doing what you said you would do with clarity, focus, ease and grace.” I like it because it gives us an opportunity to be successful every day.

Success cashartblogdotcomThese are my notes expanding each of the 4 aspects of Dr. Nemeth’s success definition:

Clarity: Clear about who I am, what’s important to me, and what is a game worth playing?

Focus: Zeroing in on conclusions that are empowering, spacious or ontological versus listening to my brain chattering telling me why it can’t work or that it CAN work but just not by me!

Ease: Ease of action, whether at the start of a project or in bringing it to completion. Ease happens when my actions in the moment are in harmony with my whole being and I’m not doing anything, as Hill describes, that violates the rights of others.

Grace: Being grateful for the journey – that I am being guided by inner principles and that I can be resilient and centred no matter what is going on in physical reality.

Does this mean that we can attain success smoothly without obstacles once we follow this path? Of course not! Dr. Nemeth says

The road to satisfying experiences must necessarily pass through the terrain of discomfort. Trouble paradoxically is a sign that you are on the right path.

So the next time you find yourself looking at someone else about to lunge into ‘the comparison hour’ ask yourself: “How do I do what’s before me with clarity, focus, ease and grace?” and watch as your frustration disappears and you bring your WHOLE self to taking those actions that best suit YOU!

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Embrace the Hand You're Dealt

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When I was a child, I remember both my mother and grandmother giving me a thick, viscous, malt-based concoction on a spoon daily. It was “good for me” I was told. There was no evading it. It was poured and administered – spoon immediately in mouth – I had no choice but to swallow it as quickly as possible and remove any traces by creating tumultuous waves in my mouth, swishing and agitating, with water – a gulp and a frown – knowing that I’d have to endure the same….tomorrow.

My mother said that the crust of the bread was also “good for me” and so never removed it from my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches which I loved.

And so to this day, I still eat the crust first (because in that household there was no getting around NOT eating what you were given lol) off any sandwich that I’m consuming – leaving the delicious center for last.

I didn’t realize that I was already learning a valuable lesson as a young person, that in life you must figure out how to deal with the hand you’re dealt. When you’re playing cards you have no idea which cards are going to end up in your hand. Sometimes they bring you joy and feelings that you’re going to win, and sometimes you just can’t wait for the game to be over.

Our power always lies in how we CHOOSE to respond to the hands we’re dealt.

Will you throw in the towel? Give up? Quit?

Or will you, as Cari Murphy describes in Create/Change/Now, make decisions to use the strength of your character to bravely play out your hand with honesty, integrity and grace?

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