Obligations that don’t suck

Obligations. We all have them. Stuff you just have to do.

How you experience them is completely up to you.

Ugh. Why do I have to do this? I hate it. It’s not fair. It’s gonna be hard. And miserable. And I could be doing something else way more fun. It’s gonna suck.

Absolutely 100% you won’t be surprised.  It sucks.

Or

Well, I can just get this done. Not my favorite, but I’ll feel good when it’s done. Who knows, maybe I’ll learn something, or meet someone kinda interesting. No matter what, I’ll feel good about myself for following through. Maybe I’ll be surprised.

It won’t suck. You might be surprised. You’ll definitely feel good about yourself.

To paraphrase Henry Ford: whether you think it will suck or it won’t, you’re right.

Since it’s in your control, why not choose for it not to suck? Or go a little further – choose for it to be delightful and surprising.

It really is your choice.

And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

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Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace. A mini session is a short coaching session, where we can talk about what’s holding you back and what you can do about it. What do you have to lose? Literally!

BS Files #5: I’m weighing my options

The BS Files are kinda like the X-files – full of myths and urban legends and mysterious things. I feel that it is my duty to tackle them (occasionally). Because, you know, the truth is out there. I think I’m going to handle one case a month, so here is September’s case.

Case #5. I’m weighing my options. Bullsh*t!

This one looks good, right? I’m doing research, investigating, evaluating the pros and cons, making an informed decision, deliberating, getting a second (or third or fourth) opinion. I’ll make my decision after I have all the information.

Good right? Well, not if I look deeper.

What’s really going on is this: I’m stalling. I’m delaying, procrastinating, taking my time. I’m nervous. I’m worried. I’m scared. What if I make the wrong decision (as if that’s never happened before!) I fool myself into believing that if I take my time, I’ll make the right decision. I’ll get better at making decisions by researching.

Truth: I already made a decision to do nothing. I have narrowed my options down to 1.

Truth: You don’t get better at making decisions by research. That’s like saying you get better at riding a bike by playing the accordion. You get better at making decisions by making decisions.

Actually making a decision takes about 5 seconds. The research and investigation part happens before you make a decision.

If you get it wrong, you can always make another decision. Okay, almost always. There are times when there are enormous consequences without a do over – like when McGyver had to choose which wire to cut on the bomb. But even in that situation, the decision had to be made quickly.

Efficient research and evaluation can be quicker than you think, especially if you decouple it from the emotional impact of making a decision.

Pick. Choose. Decide. It’s a skill. It’s a super power. Get better at making decisions by making decisions. Not by playing the accordian, please. Case Closed.

And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

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Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace. A mini session is a short coaching session, where we can talk about what’s holding you back and what you can do about it. What do you have to lose? Literally!

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Have a topic for the BS files? Let me know and I’ll give it a go!

A war of words is still war…

I’ve really noticed lately how much conflict language there is around these days. Maybe it’s always been there and I haven’t noticed. But I notice it now, and I’m on a…I almost said “rampage”…mission to change things.

It’s everywhere and it shapes how we think about things.

The language of conflict implies a battle, requiring winners and losers.

It evokes inner thoughts and feelings of struggle and fighting and pushing other people out of the way and fierce competition.

It feeds hidden beliefs, because it’s language we just take for granted, we don’t even notice it. Monsters and demons and enemies.

It’s meant to motivate us, right? And it does. Slaying. Epic. Bad-ass.  So prevalent in the business world. In media.

We get used to things when we are exposed to them over and over again. Sometimes it’s wonderful. Take TV for example. I think it was a lot easier for some Americans to elect a black president after seeing David Palmer on 24 – even if it was on Fox! Or how we don’t even notice it anymore when a female character talks about her wife.

But exposure isn’t always wonderful, and I think that over exposure to the language of conflict numbs us to the impact and meaning of that language.

“Kill two birds with one stone.” Why not “Feed 10 cows in one pasture?”  What others come to mind?

Words matter. Be aware. Choose wisely.

And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

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Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace. A mini session is a short coaching session, where we can talk about what’s holding you back and what you can do about it. What do you have to lose? Literally!

There is nothing like STRONG

Time for a little confession. It’s not an accident that this post follows the one about guilt being a poison, because I think guilt is the toxin that started this phase of the story, but it isn’t the point of this particular chapter, so we’ll just let it sit in the corner by itself…guilt, you just sit there and think about what you did. Leave us alone. We’re busy.

About a year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with melanoma, and an ugly one had to be removed from my leg right away.

I’m an amazing healer. I have a history of healing in record time and amazing all the doctors and nurses and physios. I’m pretty much used to it.

So I had the surgery a year ago June. All good, all clear, no more cancer. But I didn’t heal well. The site opened up as soon as the stitches were out. It got infected. Really infected and wasn’t responsive to antibiotics.  I had an open wound for 6 months with weekly wound care appointments. The body doesn’t like open wounds, by the way. It wants to be whole.

During that time, I couldn’t really be more active than gentle walking, maybe a little stationery biking. I had to be pretty sedentary. Not my way at all.

Around November, I was remarking to my wound care nurse that this was so unlike me, to not be healing faster. She said, “Well, that’s just because you’re getting older and your body starts deteriorating.” I was stunned. I had to tell her that I didn’t believe that. I don’t believe that there’s any evidence that says aging HAS TO BE a process of declining health. When I said it out loud, I realized that I needed to hear that. I finished up the rest of the healing pretty quickly.

The next part is what’s really awesome. I had been pretty sedentary for a while now. I didn’t like it. I gradually started increasing my activity. Then one day in March I just decided it was time. I started playing around with exercise. I started with cardio. At first I had to modify things a lot, but I really did see rapid improvement in my flexibility and endurance. By June I was ready to go all in and start lifting and HIIT again. It’s August, and I’m lifting more than I ever have before. Ever.

There is nothing like STRONG. That’s the feeling I want all the time – for all my life, up to the very last second.

Strong isn’t just physical. It’s confident and brave and powerful and comfortable. It’s authentic and connected and loving. There’s no judgment in strong. Strong is accepting and open and vulnerable. Strong is a belief system. Strong is incredibly grounded, and yet fierce.

Yes, for me having a healthy and strong body is a big component of Strong, but it’s not the only piece.  I completely understand why communities claim strength after a traumatic event, like #SonomaStrong after the fires last year.

STRONG = Life Force.

And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

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Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace. A mini session is a short coaching session, where we can talk about what’s holding you back and what you can do about it. What do you have to lose? Literally!

BS Files: #4 Anything worth doing is worth doing well

The BS Files are kinda like the X-files – full of myths and urban legends and mysterious things. I feel that it is my duty to tackle them (occasionally). Because, you know, the truth is out there…it feels like time to return to the case files.

Here’s Case #4. Anything worth doing is worth doing well.  Bullsh*t!

Oh this little sucker had it’s teeth in me for a long time! It’s the perfectionist’s theme song.

It’s also much loved by procrastinators.  I remember hearing my dad say this a lot when I was growing up. He thought he was instilling a great work ethic in his kids. What he was doing was setting an example of how to not ever finish anything – he was really good at that. Actually, he was even better at never starting anything. Because, you know, to do it well was going to take a long time.

When I started writing my first book, I was sure that it was going to take a long time, lots of rewrites and be really hard. Because, of course, I wanted to do it well.  I wanted it to be perfect.

Before I began writing, my editor spent a lot of time prepping me. She said to always write forward. Keep moving, keep learning. Finish. You can always come back to rewrite. But this is the most important thing: a book that is perfectly written, but only 3/4 finished and unpublished is not helping a single person. I was writing in the self-development genre, so this really hit home. I wrote my first book in 3 days. I had minor rewrites. It’s not perfect. But it’s pretty good. And it helped a bunch of people. And I learned a lot, and my second book was much better as a result.

Worth doing well enough. That’s a concept. It’s a line in the sand.

We practice this all the time without even realizing. I bet every meal you make isn’t perfect. But it’s good enough, right? And there are some things that you just have to get done, time is more important than quality.

The bullshit part is the word “anything”. Some things are absolutely worth doing well, worth your best effort, even if they are hard. Some things are just not worth the time and care to do perfectly – or even well. Some things you just have to get out there and make a start. Some aren’t even worth doing. Some are just worth C or C+ level work.

Here’s the thing – you get to decide what’s important to you and how much work and care you want to put in. You also get to define the quality standards. Good enough may be just perfect in some instances, leaving you time and energy to focus on what you want to focus on!

Worth doing well? Somethings are worth the time and effort. Some, not so much. You decide. Case Closed.

And remember:  in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

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Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace, or see if the Tapas for Your Soul Weight Loss program is for you.

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Have a topic for the BS files? Let me know and I’ll give it a go!

Guilt, why won’t you just leave me the f alone?

Guilt is poison. Guilt is a toxin. And so many people I know are (or have been) virtually crippled by guilt. As in it’s the emotion they feel more than any other – and it keeps them from living the life they want to lead.

That seems counterintuitive at first read, doesn’t it? Don’t we assume that guilt serves a purpose and the purpose is to motivate us? Maybe it worked when we were kids and just developing our moral compass and stuff. But now?

Let’s be honest. Most of what we feel guilt about has NOTHING to do with right and wrong. We feel guilty because we had a cookie. We feel guilty because we didn’t call somebody back, or because we were late walking the dog, or we left the mail in the mailbox for an extra day, or because we cut 5 minutes off of our workout, or because we snuck in an extra episode of Travelers and it almost counts as binge watching.

Sure, sometimes it’s bigger stuff. Why didn’t I know to get my mother to the hospital sooner? I should have known. We should be able to fix things for our parents, our kids, our friends, our spouse, our co-workers, the world. Right?

But here’s the thing about guilt. It’s a con artist. It pretends to be useful. It pretends to motivate us. But in reality, it is stealing us blind. It steals our real motivation out from under us. It robs us from true responsibility. And it definitely thieves meaningful action. Think about it. How do you show up when you feel guilt? Hint: it’s probably not your best self. What kind of actions do you take out of guilt? And if you do take action, what are you thinking about and feeling when you do? I’m gonna guess you aren’t thinking thoughts that lead you to feel gratitude and appreciation and enjoyment, and you aren’t striving to do your best. (Oh God, please let me just get through this and stop feeling guilty.)

So guilt is optional. Yup. You can definitely kick it out of the club. You can call it the liar that it is and say adios. Because guilt doesn’t just happen. It’s a feeling that you feel because of a thought you are thinking. That thought probably starts with something like “I should…” and maybe we don’t want to… and we make it mean that we are a terrible person because we don’t want to or haven’t already… and so we feel guilty.

As I’ve mentioned before, we don’t usually stop to fact check our thoughts, we just think them on auto-pilot. You can pick different thoughts though, because you have that super power.

If guilt is eating you alive or getting in the way of something you want to do, email me: maggie@talktomaggie.com. Let’s set up a free mini-session and I can give you some solid tips on how to kick the guilt habit.

And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

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Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace. A mini session is a short coaching session, where we can talk about what’s holding you back and what you can do about it. What do you have to lose? Literally!

A tisket, a tasket, put it in a basket

You know how when you are in the beginning or middle of something, and you get this idea or thought or thing that you don’t want to lose? And you know how it can distract you completely from what you’re doing? Because you are sure you are going to forget it if you don’t either deal with it or get it on the right list – right now? And how that can completely derail you? It’s a stall tactic from your brain. I have to admit that it’s a pretty good tactic, too, because those ideas, insights and observations are often f*ing brilliant and I really don’t want to lose them.

Well, I have this construct I use for capturing the thought and then giving my brain permission to let it go and get back to focusing on what I want to focus on.

I call it a basket. It’s topical. I suppose it could be tropical, too, which is my brain distracting me from finishing this blog. Anyway, I create a basket with a topic. Like an idea basket. Or a book basket. Or a project basket. Or a lessons learned basket. It’s usually some kind of looming project Then, when I get these brilliant but distracting ideas, I write them down on a post-it or a slip of paper, put them in the basket and put it away. Sometimes I use little boxes that have lids.  Sometimes I slip in a photo or an article.  It’s kinda like a pinterest board, except that I won’t be distracted by cool mermaid tattoos that lead to crochet projects and closet makeover ideas and…

The whole point is that by creating a container, I can put the idea away in a safe place. My brain can trust that it won’t get lost. I can get back to what I want to be doing.

I use this concept with my coaching clients a lot. It’s amazing how easy it is for us to spin out on something that we just don’t even need to think about now. It’s also amazing how much better our brain feels when we know the idea won’t get lost.

When I’m ready to tackle the topic of the basket, I’ll go back in and see what’s in there.  I discovered a wonderful unintended consequence, a bonus. Once I’ve put something in the container, I feel like I’ve made a start. When I have a few things in there, I feel like I’ve got a bit of a foundation. So when it’s time to tackle the topic, I never feel like I’m starting from scratch. My brain thinks that I have a good head start already, and that this is going to be easier!

It’s very simple. But simple is just lovely.

And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

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Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace, or see if the Tapas for Your Soul Weight Loss program is for you.

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Is there a topic you’d like me to address in a blog? Let me know and I’ll give it a go!

Chasing the mythical “one size fits all”

If there’s anything I now believe, it’s that there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all. Period. Full stop, as the aussies say. It’s a myth.

I spent a fair amount of time chasing the One Size, though. Never caught it.

The obvious place to look is in clothing, right? As if there is one size that will fit and look good on everyone. There will always be someone too tall, too short, too big, too small, too different for that thing to fit. That part is fine, of course. What is not fine is how often the outliers feel bad about themselves because they don’t fit into the thing that is supposed to fit them. There must be something wrong with me.

It’s more than just clothes and bodies, though. One Size thinking is insidious. It’s in religion, in gender roles, in career paths, in relationships, in lifestyle, in sexuality, in ad finitum… so many facets of our lives.

I bought into the One Size myth a lot. So, of course, there was a lot wrong with me. Too tall. Too big. Too redheaded. Too freckled. Too athletic. Too geeky. Too smart. Too woo-woo. Too assertive. Too whatever. I spent a bit of time angry about the myth, and the images and pressure that society puts out there, but that’s a waste of time. I can’t really change society (at least not quickly enough for my taste).

When I believed the myth, I thought I needed to change myself to be able to fit in. I even thought I could change myself to fit in. But wait, did I want to do that? Not really. For example, I like being tall. What I don’t like is feeling that I shouldn’t be tall, because I don’t fit in.

It’s much easier to just stop believing the myth. I actually can control that.

I now believe that there is no one size fits all anything. There’s no need to fit in. I believe that’s true. The consequence is that I don’t have to waste time feeling any kind of bad. I can just go look for the thing that fits me perfectly, that suits me, and that I love.

And if I want to change something about me, it’s because I want to change. Funny how that’s a much easier and more successful approach.

Find the things, the life, the beliefs that fit you – your perfect size. Love them. Love you.

And remember, in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

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P.S. Unicorns are not a myth.

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Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace, or see if the Tapas for Your Soul Weight Loss program is for you.

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Is there a topic you’d like me to address in a blog? Let me know and I’ll give it a go!

Outsourcing isn’t swearing for me now

When I was in corporate land, I hated the word “outsourcing” because I really didn’t like the impact outsourcing our IT department had on corporate life.

Now that I’m not there anymore, I’ve got a new take, a new definition, and a correction.

First, there’s the correction: I now talk about “OutSourcing”. I think it’s pretty clever.  Of course I do – I get my own stuff.

The corporate definition: handing stuff that was expensive to do in-house (aka correctly) to people in a far away land who got paid very little (with a big spin on the cost of living story), knowing that the service level was going to be less than needed (but who cares because we’re saving money and creating shareholder value). Yes, lots and lots of cynicism, and yes, “outsourcing” was a swear word to me, because it was a total perversion of a good concept. It makes lots of sense to focus on what lines up with your priorities, and hire qualified people to do the rest.

My new definition: handing things over to Source to handle, knowing that Source is waaay more qualified than I am to handle those particular things. Some of those things are figuring out how my life is going to play out, how exactly my dreams will come true and my goals will become reality.

What this means to me is that I can trust that things will be handled well. I don’t need to know HOW they will be handled before I can trust and believe they WILL be handled, because I trust Source has my back. Always. Better than I do. Even when I can’t see the how yet.

So I can believe that things are possible even before I can see how it’s gonna happen. Before I know what action I’m going to have to take. Or what help I’m going to need to accept. Before I see the detailed action plan.

I don’t need to know how before I can believe. What a relief. OutSourcing done right.

And remember, in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

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Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace, or see if the Tapas for Your Soul Weight Loss program is for you.

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Is there a topic you’d like me to address in a blog? Let me know and I’ll give it a go!

A garden of words, just for you

When I was in grad school, I used to say that my motto was “THAT’S MY MOTTO!” because I would find amazing quotes and want to make them my own.  Nowadays, no one calls them mottos anymore – we call them mantras. But it’s still kinda the same thing for me – I find these phrases or sentences and I just want to remember them and say them to myself all the time. I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if I shared them with my friends? So here you go, a bouquet of word flowers!

The key to originality is finding an obscure source.

Nothing is too good to be true.

Don’t believe everything you think.

You can’t make this shit up.

My mess is my message.

Expect Miracles.

Words matter.

What you resist persists.

Bloom where you’re planted (an oldie but goodie)

I can do hard.

The way you do one thing is how you do pretty much everything.

Just worry about your side of the street.

There’s no one-size-fits-all anything.

There are many, many more. But these struck me as good for today. Because I like to go with my gut.

Comment below and let me know what gems you’ve discovered.

And remember, in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

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Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace, or see if the Tapas for Your Soul Weight Loss program is for you.

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Is there a topic you’d like me to address in a blog? Let me know and I’ll give it a go!